It’s 2 a.m. A text message pops into Edrick Floreal’s phone. Whether Floreal is still awake when it arrives or sees it a few hours later, he doesn’t have to look at the message to know who sent it.
Who else would be seeking answers in the wee hours to questions about biomechanics and physics?
Who else would have just finished watching video of her latest workout and wondering what her coach has to say about takeoff angle and velocity?
Who else but Keni Harrison, the woman whom Floreal calls the “hurdle nerd,” no matter that attention deficit disorder has always made written instruction, especially in math, a struggle for her?
“When it comes time to talk hurdling, she turns into some kind of Einstein,” Floreal said.
It doesn’t seem to make any difference that Floreal has told her she should be sleeping rather than thinking and talking (in the virtual sense) about hurdles at 2 a.m. He tried pointing out to her that if Harrison were going to stay up worrying, he was going to go to sleep, so the responses still would have to wait until the next morning.
“When I’m up at night, I like to go through what I did that day,” Harrison said. “When I have a question, I don’t look at the time, I just text him. I love asking questions.”
Floreal can laugh about occasionally losing this argument. He knows that the way Harrison processes the answers about the best way to run 100 meters while hurdling ten 33-inch-high barriers has helped make her a global sensation this Olympic track and field season.
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