Kerron Stephon Clement (born October 31, 1985) is an American track and field athlete who competes in the 400-meter hurdles and 400-meter sprint. He held the indoor world record in the 400-meter sprint, having broken Michael Johnson's mark in 2005.
Clement at the 2016 Summer Olympics
|Full name||Kerron Stephon Clement|
|Born||October 31, 1985|
Port of Spain, Trinidad
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|Sport||Track and field|
|Event(s)||400 meters, 400 meters hurdles|
|College team||University of Florida|
Clement won the hurdles at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2007 World Championships in Athletics and took the silver behind Angelo Taylor at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He retained his world title at the 2009 World Championships. He is a frequent member of the American 4x400-meter relay and is a two-time world champion and Olympic gold medallist in the event.
As a junior athlete, he set a championship record at the 2004 World Junior Championships and as a University of Florida Gator won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2004/2005. He quickly progressed on the senior circuit, taking the hurdles title at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in both 2005 and 2006. He was fourth in his first global appearance at the 2005 World Championships and won his first global gold at the 2006 IAAF World Cup.
Clement was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. His family moved to the United States in 1998, where he became a successful high school athlete at La Porte High School in La Porte, Texas. He won both 110 and 400-meter hurdles at the USATF Youth Athletics Championships. He also won the (high school) National Scholastic Championship in the 110-meter high hurdles in 2002, and finished fifth in that same event his senior year in 2003. He won the 400-meter hurdles at the 2003 National Scholastic meet.
Clement accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he ran for coach Mike Holloway's Florida Gators track and field team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition in 2004 and 2005. At the end of his freshman year in 2004, he won the NCAA outdoor championships in the 400-meter hurdles (a feat he would repeat in 2005). Clement became a U.S. citizen in June 2004 and was eligible to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, but instead opted to skip the Olympic Trials in favor of competing at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Athletics. At the World Junior Championships in July, he won the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles in a championship record time of 48.51 seconds. Clement also ran a leg for the American 4x400-meter relay team and set a world junior record of 3:01.09.
On March 12, 2005, representing the University of Florida, he broke the indoor world record for the 400-meter sprint at the NCAA indoor championships in Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas with a time of 44.57 seconds. His split at 200-meter was 21.08 seconds. The record was held for ten years previously by Michael Johnson at 44.63 seconds. Afterwards, Clement anchored Florida's 4x400-meter indoor relay to a time of 3:03.51.
Clement set a personal best and 2005 world leading performance in the 400-meter hurdles with a 47.24 seconds, winning the 2005 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships title at Carson, California. This was the fastest time posted for the 400-meter hurdles in seven years. He opted to turn professional in the summer of 2005 and, while he no longer represented the University of Florida he continued to live and train in Gainesville. Clement faded during the 2005 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki, Finland and missed out on the medals, finishing fourth. He represented the United States at the 2006 IAAF World Cup and won the hurdles title ahead of South African L. J. van Zyl.
Clement earned a gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2007 World Championship in Osaka. His time of 47.61 seconds was a season's best, and he was ranked the number 1 400-meter hurdler in the world. In the fall of 2007, he decided to leave Gainesville, and moved to California to train under legendary track coach Bob Kersee to prepare for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Clement qualified in the 400-meter hurdles for the 2008 Summer Olympics on June 29, 2008, at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Clement advanced to the final where he was a slight favourite over compatriot Angelo Taylor, but Taylor ran a personal best time to win the gold medal. Clement came second for silver, and later won a gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay despite not racing in the final. He closed the year on the top of the podium with a gold medal at the 2008 IAAF World Athletics Final.
The following year he competed at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics. Reigning Olympic champion, Taylor, was eliminated in the heats. Clement won the gold medal in a season's best time of 47.91, beating Javier Culson and Bershawn Jackson to the title. He took another gold at the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Final, which was the last edition of the competition.
In 2011 he started off the outdoor season well, running a 48.74 on May 7, but he failed to improve on that time the rest of the year. As the two-time defending champion, Clement received an automatic entry to the 13th IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, but his time of 52.11 on 30 August was not good enough to advance to the finals.
|100 meters||10.23||Coral Gables, Florida||April 14, 2007|
|200 meters||20.49||Coral Gables, Florida||April 14, 2007|
|300 meters (indoor)||31.94||Fayetteville, Arkansas||June 26, 2005|
|400 meters||44.48||Stockholm, Sweden||August 7, 2007|
|55 meters hurdles (indoor)||7.28||Gainesville, Florida||January 15, 2005|
|60 meters hurdles (indoor)||7.80||Lexington, Kentucky||February 28, 2004|
|110 meters hurdles||13.77||Omaha, Nebraska||August 8, 2002|
|400 meters hurdles||47.24||Carson, California||June 26, 2005|
- All information from IAAF profile. Last updated October 15, 2008
On October 11, 2019, National Coming Out Day, Clement came out as gay during a Nike event, saying "It's who I am and it's what made me become the athlete I am today." He had struggled with his sexuality since his teens and decided it was time “to be free.”
- Kerron Clement 48.75 Men's 400mH | Zurich Diamond League. Retrieved on 2016-09-10
- Dunaway, Jim (2005-03-13). Clement demolishes Johnson's World Indoor 400m record. IAAF; Retrieved August 30, 2010
- Track & Field News, June 2008 (pp.16-18), feature "T&FN Interview: Kerron Clement"; accessed March 4, 2012
- "2003 LPHS graduate Kerron Clement headed for Beijing Olympics". News and Spotlights. La Porte ISD. June 30, 2008. Archived from the original on August 20, 2009. Retrieved 2008-08-16.
- McDougall, Chrös (October 11, 2019). "Kerron Clement Comes Out, Believed To Be First Openly Gay U.S. Olympic Men's Track Athlete". Team USA. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
- Towle, Andy (October 12, 2019). "Olympic Gold Medalist Kerron Clement Comes Out as Gay: 'I Was Tired of Loving in the Dark'". Towleroad Gay News. Retrieved October 12, 2019.