Philly, Pleasantville’s Nia Ali Heads to Rio in 100M Hurdles

Philly native Nia Ali earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in the 100-meter hurdles. She placed third in the trials held in Oregon with a time of 12.55. This is the first Olympic competition for Ali, who made quite a comeback after giving birth to son, Titus, in 2014.

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Philadelphia native Nia Ali (left) earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team to compete in the Women's 100M Hurdles. Ali placed third in the trials with a time of 12.55. Brianna Rollins (right) won the race with a time of 12.34 seconds and Kristi Castlin crossed the finish line with a time of 12.50, placing second during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on July 8, 2016 in Eugene, Oregon. All three women are first-time Olympians.
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"I texted her this morning before the race and told her to stay calm and focus and everything would be fine. Nia started running when she was 6 or 7. She's one of the best overall athletes we've ever had. It takes a special person to make it to the Olympics. She has to be really devoted. The best thing we did with her, we never held her back. We never told her, 'You're a sprinter,' or anything like that. I think that’s what kept her going. She’s highly motivated." -- Daryl Murphy who coached Ali on Philly's AAU team, the Mallery Challengers
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Nia Ali "quit everything for awhile" in 2009, former coach Daryl Murphy said, after her father, a Philadelphia social worker, shot his mistress and then himself. Ali was running for the University of Southern California. After sitting out the 2010 season, she came back in 2011 to win the NCAA and World University Titles. In this photo, Ali (left) is celebrating with Rollins after they both qualified for spots on the Olympic team. Ali grew up in Philly, started high school at West Catholic and finished at Pleasantville High School in Atlantic County, NJ.
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