Puerto Ricans are celebrating Jasmine Camacho-Quinn after her historic Olympic run for the island.
Camacho-Quinn, 24, won gold for Puerto Rico Monday in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, a victory that marks the island’s first gold medal in track and second gold in Olympic history. The athlete finished in at 12.37 seconds, beating American runner Keni Harrison, who broke the world record in London with a time of 12.20 seconds in 2016. Camacho-Quinn’s win comes after tennis player Monica Puig won the U.S. territory’s first ever Olympic gold in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Camacho-Quinn, the sister of Chicago Bears linebacker Robert Quinn, told Reuter reporters she nearly fell during the final.
“I was really running for the record, I hit the hurdle — but everything happens for a reason,” she said. “I crossed the line like, ‘wait — I just won!’”
Her Puerto Rican mother, María Milagros Camacho, watched her daughter run along with family and friends from a South Carolina restaurant late Sunday night.
“I can’t believe I have an Olympic champion daughter. A daughter with an Olympic record. When you stay focused and do the work like you’re supposed to do, outside of distractions, you can achieve anything,” she told Puerto Rican newspaper “El Nuevo Día” after the party.
The track and field athlete took to social media to celebrate her victory, with people joining in to celebrate her success.
Though a South Carolina native, the athlete’s decision to run for Puerto Rico back in 2016, her mother told the Puerto Rican newspaper, was Camacho-Quinn’s choice.
“I told her it was her decision. In the end, you were born in the United States, but if you want to run for Puerto Rico, it’s up to you and no one is going to take it away from you. The next day she called me and told me she was going to run for Puerto Rico,” said Milagros Camacho.
Though Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, it has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as a separate entity from the United States since 1948.
Camacho-Quinn’s historic win comes after a devastating blow in the 2016 Olympic semifinals when she hit two hurdles and then stumbled over, disqualifying her. Yet Milagros Camacho told the island newspaper that her daughter’s stumble only made the former University of Kentucky track star stronger.
“She said she wasn’t going to think about what happened in 2016,” Milagros Camacho said. “She stayed focused. What happened to her made her strong. That was hitting rock bottom, but now she was ready.”
Now the athlete hopes her Olympic medal can inspire others on the island.
“I’m just glad I’m just that person to do that,” she told Reuter reporters, crying tears of joy. “I’m pretty happy right now.”
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Cynthia Silva reports for NBC Asian America, NBCBLK, NBC Latino and NBC Out.