Anyone who thinks Michelle Jenneke’s pre-race ritual distracts her, just watch how she breezed through her heat in the Women’s 100m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The 29-year-old Aussie has been known as ‘The Dancing Hurdler’ ever since her pre-race warm-up went global.
See the dance – and Michelle Jenneke smash her heat – in the video player above
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On Friday, she cut a very relaxed figure despite being laned right next to Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan – the current world record holder in the event.
There was lots of dancing, and smiles all round. She was introduced to the crowd over the speakers as ‘The Dancing Australian’.
She waved with grin from ear to ear. It was a special moment for Jenneke.
She’s in the best form of her career, coming off an exceptional performance at the world championships in the US earlier in July.
Jenneke knew she would likely have to again go close to her new PB of 12.66 seconds, just to make it through to the final.
And boy, didn’t she deliver.
Amusan, who won gold in the event at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018, flew home to win the heat in a time of 12.40 – a new Commonwealth Games record.
Jenneke, crossed the line in second to qualify for the final in a time of 12.63 – that’s the fastest she’s ever run.
“She will be very happy with how she executed that race,” Aussie athletics legend and Channel 7 Tamsyn Manou said after the race.
“Michelle wasn’t overwhelmed by being in the same race as Amusan. She had a clean run. She has just really used her speed and her technical ability over those hurdles.
“She’s an incredible hurdler and she’s in great shape.
“She’s had so many issue with injuries that it’s been really hard for her to get a block of training done. She comes into this championships with a block of training.”
See the original pre-race warm-up that made Michelle Jenneke a household name in the video player below
After the race, Jenneke told Seven’s Jason Richardson she is racing the best she ever has.
I’m in the shape of my life,” she said.
“It’s really exciting. I still feel like I’ve got a little more in the tank, so we’ll see how we go in a couple of days.”
Jenneke is now in with a great shot to hit the podium at the Commonwealth Games. And Manou won’t mind seeing the pre-race warm-up dance again.
“I think sometimes people forget just how talented she is as an athlete,” Manou said.
“Athletes come in and they know what works for their psyche. For Michelle, it’s about relaxing and enjoying herself and that’s how she gets the most about herself.”
Jenneke maintained that nothing is changing any time soon.
“Honestly, I feel like I run the best when I’m happy and relaxed and just soaking it all up,” she said.
“That’s what works for me, so that’s what I do.”
Australia’s Celeste Mucci will also race in the final after qualifying eighth fastest in her heat.
The 22-year-old equalled her personal best in a very clean run at her second Commonwealth Games..