An image that says "Power Diaries" in purple and pink font.

For Olympic Hurdler Keni Harrison, Power Comes From Goal-Setting

Kendra “Keni” Harrison considers herself, “a big goal-setter.” And over the weekend, she achieved a huge one. She competed in the 100-meter hurdles competition at the Tokyo Olympics. The world record holder won a silver medal with a lightning-quick time of 12.52 seconds. ​​"I don't think it was shocking that I came here and am able to get a medal," she told reporters after the competition with an American flag draped around her shoulders. "It's just one of those things when you dream about (it) every single night. I knew that I was definitely capable." Here’s what makes Harrison feel powerful. 
Advertisement

I feel most powerful when…

I achieve my goals, whether the goal is small or big. An example of a big goal is, of course, going to the Olympics. A small goal would be sticking to my regimen of taking care of my body — making sure I do the small things, like jumping in an ice bath when I need to. Small goals help you reach your bigger goals, and help stop you from cutting corners. 

Power to me means… 

Being bold and putting yourself out there. 

What do you do when you feel powerless?

I lean on people who love me. My friends and family always know how to cheer me up. My family knows I can get anxiety sometimes when it comes to track meets and they know how to try to distract me, and that makes me feel more calm. My friends are the same way. Being able to laugh with them helps. Laughing relaxes your body a lot more than people think. Especially when it comes to the intensity of our sport, just being able to relax, that’s when you run your best times. 

What's your power anthem?

I listen to R&B and slower stuff. It keeps me calm. When I listen to anything with an upbeat, it makes me more jittery. I love listening to Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Drake. But also like gospel music as well — I listen to Tasha Cobbs and Natalie Grant. 
Advertisement

Who is your power icon?

I don’t really have an icon, but I have people who I like what they represent. Like Allyson Felix or Serena Williams. I like them as athletes, but then off the track, they’re very empowering women. They inspire me.

What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?

On the track, a good matching running outfit, I like to match my sports bra with my tights and tennis shoes. A lil' crop top. I feel that whenever you show up feeling good, you run good. Same with off the track. I love dressing up. I love shopping for clothes even if I don’t have time to wear them. 
This interview has been condensed for length and clarity.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23rd on NBC.

More from Wellness

R29 Original Series

Advertisement