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Dawn Harper

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDawn•Harper (-Everhart, -Nelson)
Used nameDawn•Harper
Born13 May 1984 in Norman, Oklahoma (USA)
Measurements168 cm / 61 kg
AffiliationsNike, Beaverton (USA)
NOC United States


In the 100m hurdle final at the 2008 Olympic Games, Harper, in her first Olympics, was lined up against countrywoman LoLo Jones, whose race it was to lose. Harper ran a consistent and clean race and was in contention enough to capture the gold medal in a personal best time of 12.54 seconds when Jones clipped hurdle nine, and Australia’s Sally Pearson couldn’t maintain her hurdle five lead.

In the 100m hurdle final four years later in London in 2012, Harper was making gains on Pearson and just ran out of real estate, leaving her unable to defend her 2008 Olympic title, but she was delighted in winning silver and setting a personal best of 12.37 seconds, tying the best ever USA performance at the Olympic Games.

Harper went to the 2009 World Championships in Berlin and while she ran a personal best in the semi-finals (12.48), she clipped hurdle two in the final finishing seventh. After a season-ending knee injury in 2010 and with only four months of training, Harper went to the 2011 World Championships in Daegu and won the bronze medal in a personal best time (12.47). She finished a disappointing fourth at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow but ended her season on a high note beating the exact same field (excluding the champion) as in Moscow Worlds, at the Diamond League Final in Belgium, and winning her second Diamond League title.

Since graduating from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2006 with a degree in psychology, Harper trained under Bobby Kersee. A 2002 graduate of East St. Louis High School in Illinois, USA, she won six state titles (three each in the 100m and 300m hurdles). After winning Olympic gold in 2008, the Governor of Illinois declared 6 October as Dawn Harper Day honouring her for her success and humble beginnings being from East St. Louis, the same hometown as the great Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee. After winning her silver medal in 2012, Harper was named an Ambassador for the United Way for Greater St. Louis Education Express where she is involved in promoting the value and importance of education in the region.

In preparation for her wedding to Alonzo Nelson in 2013, Harper appeared on the episode called “Race to the Alter” on The Learning Channel’s popular TV show “Say Yes to the Dress” where brides are assisted by bridal consultants in picking out their wedding dress. She was previously married to former USA 400m runner Craig Everhart (PB 44.89).

Personal Best: 100H – 12.37 (2012)


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
2008 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Dawn Harper
100 metres Hurdles, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
2012 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Dawn Harper
100 metres Hurdles, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver

Special Notes