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Local Olympic Spotlight: Nia Ali, Arguably Nations Best Short Distance Hurdler, Representing Philadelphia at Rio Olympics

Nia Ali (Getty Images)

Nia Ali (Getty Images)


Nia Ali of Philadelphia is looking to win her first ever Olympic medal when she debuts in Rio.

She punched her ticket to her first ever Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Trials, when she finished third place in the 100m hurdles.

Ali has won two world championship indoor 60m hurdle titles, including one fresh after giving birth to her son. Those titles came in 2014 and 2016, with her taking most of the 2015 season off due to her pregnancy. That means that she is the world’s best in shorter distances in hurdles.

Despite having less experience in the 100m, she still has a tie for the fourth best time in the world in that event in 2016. The two women that outpaced Ali in the Trials are two of the three who have run faster times in that race this year. Meaning that in Rio, Ali will likely only be stopped by her fellow teammates from reaching gold. She won’t have to face world record holder Kendra Harrison who fell short in the Trials. She won the NCAA 100m title during her final season at USC, but only competed in the world championships in the outdoors in 2013.

Considering her blistering speed and the immense amount of success that she has already reached this season, it’s reasonable to assume that Nia Ali will come home from the Olympics with a medal. She is still possibly shaking off the rust from taking time off, meaning that she could be getting better as she progresses. Her start is one of the best in the world, so it will be necessary for her to vault that strength into a full race to allow her to get gold. She will more than likely be on the podium after the final; the only question is what color medal will she win.

She began running hurdles during her senior season in high school, when she moved to Pleasantville, New Jersey. In college, she even added the modern pentathlon to her pedigree of events. The father of her son, Michael Tinsley, will be competing in the 400m hurdles in the Olympics under the American flag as well. At USC, she was a psychology major.



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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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