Dawn Harper

Class of 2006

Following another's footsteps, she left some big shoes to fill.

Olympic hurdles champion Dawn Harper was born just a few months before the 1984 Summer Olympics, when Jackie Joyner-Kersee ‘86 won her first Olympic medal. Like Joyner-Kersee, Harper grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois. As a youngster Harper aspired to attend UCLA, in part because it was where Joyner-Kersee had launched her legendary career. When Harper was recruited to UCLA by Coach Jeanette Bolden, one dream had come true, and others were within her grasp. Soon, she was claiming 100-meter hurdles titles at the U.S. junior national championships and the Pan-American Games. In 2008, only months after knee surgery, Harper earned an Olympic gold medal of her own. Four years later, and after another knee surgery, Harper pulled out an impressive repeat performance at the London Games, running her fastest-ever 100-meter hurdles to claim an Olympic silver medal.

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Dawn Harper

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