June 2021

Christina Clemons is a U.S. Olympian

Courtesy of
June 21, 2021

Former Buckeye, NCAA champion, Big Ten champion and Ohio State graduate qualifies in 100 hurdles

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State track and field has a U.S. Olympian. Christina (Manning) Clemons, one of the great sprinters/hurdlers in Ohio State history, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the 100 hurdles late Sunday evening at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, which are being held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Clemons was third in the 100 hurdles in a time of 12.53. In order to make Team USA, a top three finish in most events is required. Keni Harrison was first in this 100 hurdles in 12.47 with Brianna McNeal second in 12.51. Gabbi Cunningham was fourth, also in 12.53, but Clemons beat her by a lean and five-thousands of a second: 12.521 to 12.526.

“I’ve been going after this team since 2012,” Clemons emotionally shared with NBC’s Lewis Johnson following her race. “I ruptured my Achilles in 2013. I wasn’t healthy enough in 2016. We had to wait a whole year in 2020. And now here I’ve been looked over, I’ve been counted out, but when God is with you, it doesn’t matter. I’m just so happy!”

Outstanding as a Buckeye

Clemons competed for Ohio State track and field under head coach Karen Dennis from 2009-12 and graduated in 2012 with her degree in criminology. She was an 11-time All-American, a 10-time Big Ten champion, including eight individual championships, and she won two NCAA titles as a senior in 2012: the 60 hurdles indoors and the 100 hurdles outdoors.

Clemons still holds three Ohio State individual records: the 60m dash (7.23), 60m hurdles (7.91) and the 100m hurdles (12.68). She was a four-time Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year and was the 2012 Big Ten Conference Female Athlete of the Year.

Clemons helped the Buckeyes to their first Big Ten team championship – the 2011 indoor championship – and then two more: the 2011 and 2012 outdoor championships.

Third U.S. Olympian

Clemons, who was enshrined in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017, is the third from the Ohio State women’s track and field program to be named a U.S. Olympian: Diane Dixon was a U.S. Olympian in 1984 and 1988; and Stephanie Hightower was an Olympian in 1980. Dixon won gold and silver medals as part of the 4×400 relay team in 1984 and 1988, respectively. Hightower and Team USA was not able to compete in 1980 because of the boycott.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The Olympic Games are officially branded as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, even though they are taking place in 2021 because of last year’s postponement. The Tokyo Olympics begin Friday, July 23, with the opening ceremony at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium. The opening ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. local time in Japan, which is 7 a.m. EDT in the United States. Olympic track and field begins July 29.

READ MORE: Buckeyes at the 2020 Olympic Games