She is an American track and field athlete who specializes in the 100 meter hurdles. She was the gold medalist in the 100 meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. During her time with the UCLA Bruins, she won the sprint hurdles at the US Junior Championships and at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships. She received All-American honours twice at the 2004 NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship, after coming eighth in the 100 meter hurdles final and taking second place in the 4×100-meter relay. She ran 12.61 seconds to win a silver medal at the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Final. She qualified first at the 2012 United States Summer Olympic Trials and is competing in London.
She says of her faith, “My faith was definitely a part of me growing up. I went to church on Sundays, but I knew that God was real in my life. A lot of people start to look towards God when they get hurt, and when I hurt myself as a sophomore and had knee surgery, the doctors told me I would probably never run as fast again. I was only 15 years old and track was what I wanted to do. So when I came back from that, I realized God had a much bigger plan for me. And then, when I had knee surgery before the 2008 Olympics, that just sealed the deal. I was thinking, ‘There is another plan for me that I may not see for myself. I’m supposed to reach out to other people and show them what God can do because of what He’s done through me.’ I knew that it was all about giving God the glory. And once I crossed the finish line, that’s the first thing that crossed my mind. A lot of people call me the “What” girl because once I won the race, you can watch the footage and see that I’m saying “What” over and over again. But what I was saying, was that from this big ole globe, God chose this little girl from East Saint Louis out of all the kids who have said, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’ He knew that I could handle this—the knee surgery and all of the things that come with being an Olympic champion. He took the girl that no one thought would win. He chose me. He entrusted me with this. And after that race in 2008, I just broke down crying.” Her name is Dawn Harper.