Bubbly Megan Tapper shines bright in TokyoTuesday, August 03, 2021
TOKYO, Japan — The wait was agonising.
The winner, Olympic Record holder Jasmine Camacho-Quinn's name had already been posted on the huge screen. So did silver-medal winner, American Kendra Harrison.
Jamaica's Megan Tapper waited eagerly. She gesticulated as she kept looking up at the monitor. And after what seemed an eternity, she was confirmed as the bronze-medal winner.
Then everything changed, as the petite (less-than 5'1”) star celebrated like nobody had seen her done before. She was reaping the fruits of her labour, and she was giving God thanks for all that he had done for her, especially during the lean times.
Though tired by the time she appeared before the Jamaican media in the mixed zone, Tapper was still bubbly.
“Mi face a hurt mi, mi jus a smile,” she said as she lay on her back on the floor.
After a few seconds, maybe a minute, she was ready for the interview.
“Tired, and really grateful,” was her first remark.
“Just so grateful,” she added before giving a shout-out her support team, including Dr Wesley Morris and Greg Haughton, who have been there with her from 2019.
Describing the wait on the result, she said: “It was hard, but I knew that God didn't bring me this far to leave me, so I trusted him. As small as I am and probably not as talented as all the other Jamaican athletes, I have always set the bar really high for myself so I see myself on the highest of acme,” she said in response to what she had expected.
“There is always talent, there is always grace, there is always the determination but I didn't know how to get it going forward and they (support staff) were the ones who jumped in and helped me and this medal is as much theirs and it is mine.
“Big up my coaches and family, Jamaica and everybody who supported the journey, those who bought a pillow, a jacket, who bought a shirt, a hat, this bronze medal is as much yours as it is mine. The journey doesn't end here but you have exclusive rights, because you supported this journey before you even knew what was possible.”
Drawn widest of all on the outside in lane nine, like she did in her surprise victory at the Jamaican National Championships in Kingston that late Sunday morning in June, Tapper got away smartly and kept up her momentum until she came under pressure from Nigerian Tobi Amusan (12.60secs), but she dug deep and power through to what was an easier margin of victory than the long photofinish wait had indicated.
“I was nervous, like extremely nervous, as expected. It's an Olympic final, but I just asked God to show up for me and that he did.
“I went out there and I got a good start, I didn't get left in the blocks and I just maintained the focus and did the best that I could in the middle of the race and ran; did my Veronica Campbell dip to the finish line and it got me a bronze medal, so I'm grateful.”
While Tapper gained success, teammate Britany Anderson experienced difficulties clearing the middle barriers and stumbled out of contention to finish eighth in 13.24secs.
But Tapper believes this young sensation, who clocked an impressive 12.40secs to beat Harrison in the semis, is one star for the future.
“Britany is good. Britany is young, she's 20 years old, she made an Olympic final at her first try, 12.40 in the semi-finals, she's so good right now; Jamaica you have a star on your hands,” was her tribute.
In ending the interview, Tapper said: “I am relieved because I came out here wanting to produce a lifetime best (12.53secs last year in England), I didn't get that much but I came close to it and for that I'm grateful.”
Also grateful was Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President Christopher Samuda, who gave Tapper an opportunity to speak to her mother via telephone towards the end of the interview in the mixed zone.
It appeared an emotional exchange, and no tears flowed from the side we were seeing, though but the classy athlete appeared to be choking up.
“Megan's run was one of determination and courage and demonstrated how the mind can empower the body to excel,” Samuda said.
“The JOA is proud of this daughter of the yard who has given young women a vision of success in sport which is attainable if you can firmly grasp the moment and rise above the occasion.
“I salute Britany. She stumbled in the final and lost her rhythm, but I have every conviction that she will regain the beat as her best is yet to come.”
Anderson, for all that she has attained here in Japan, has taken the experiences, good and bad, in stride.
“Well I'm really excited because a first senior race in the final with a PB (personal best), medal or no medal,” she said.
She explained that she wasn't the best over the first hurdle based on what she can remember.
“I tried to get back, I hit seven or eight or both of them and it wasn't there after that as the momentum wasn't there, everything just fell [away] after that.”
Now she knows what she's capable of, what she can actually produce, so all she needs to fix going forward is “get the first three hurdles out the way and keep it tight after that”.
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