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Kellie Wells is an athlete competing in track and field at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA. She is a medal contender in the 100m hurdles.

Kellie Wells has overcome years of personal strife, tragedy, and injury in pursuit of her Olympic dream. Wells qualified for the team with her runner-up finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

Wells kicked off her 2012 season with a three low-key victories in the 55m hurdles in Gainesville and a third-place finish in the seldom-run 50m hurdles at the U.S. Open in New York in January. A few days later, Wells was forced to shut down her season after breaking her arm in practice. On her Twitter account, Wells wrote, "Let's just say I had an ugly crash with a small hurdle and had some surgery."

After Nationals, Wells returned to the Diamond League circuit, where she finished sixth in Lausanne, fourth in Birmingham and second in Monaco. At the World Championships in Daegu, Wells got off on the right foot, winning her opening heat in 12.73 and finishing second in her semifinal heat in 12.79. But in the final, she clipped hurdle six, clobbered hurdle seven, and fell to the track, unable to finish. "My pace picked up and I was running up on hurdles," Wells said. "My foot was dead smack into the middle of it so there was no saving it. I had to push down the next hurdle and kind of fell over it."

Wells finally earned her triumphant moment at the 2011 USA Outdoor Championships, where she won her first title in the 100m hurdles in a personal-best 12.50 seconds. Afterward, she fell to the track and bellowed out a primal scream that was equal parts joy and relief before bursting into tears. "I don't have any words and I am a woman of many words," Wells told NBC's Lewis Johnson on the track afterward. "That was the race of my life. My coach (Dennis Mitchell) prepared me, God prepared me, and I stayed focused the entire time. I'm so thankful I got my revenge today. I wasn't (thinking about past). I was thinking that I worked too hard and have been through so many ups and downs, why not seize the moment? And I did."

In June, Wells returned to Eugene for the first time since tearing her hamstring at the 2008 Olympic Trials. Hoping that no bad karma remained, she took an unusual measure during a trip to Hayward Field for pre-meet training. "I came out for practice on Wednesday and sat in the lane (five) that I got hurt in," Wells said. "I kind of talked to it, rubbed it, and was like, 'OK, we're done with the hurt now and all of that. Let's be friends.' "Everyone looked at me like I was absolutely nuts, but I was like, 'You guys just don't understand. I need to make peace with this and hopefully go on to Daegu.'"

At the start of the 2011 World Championship year, Wells' served notice that she would be a force to reckon with during an incredible indoor season, where she dominated the hurdles. In 11 races between January and February, no one beat her to the finish line. She recorded personal-bests and world-leading times in the 55m hurdles (7.37 seconds) and 60m hurdles (7.79 seconds), and won her first USA Indoor title in Albuquerque.

The injury at the Olympic Trials forced Wells to miss the remainder of the 2008 season and most of 2009. Her best performance came in her first race of an abbreviated season, a 13.01 at the Florida Relays in April. She did not race after June of that year. "My hamstring just took forever to heal," Wells said. "We tried everything but I was always in pain. We decided just to shut it down and just rest up." It proved to be a wise decision. In 2010, Wells began to regain her physical form, finishing 13 races faster than 13 seconds, including a season-best 12.84 in a runner-up finish to Lolo Jones at the USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines.

Wells enjoyed a solid spring leading up the 2008 Olympic Trials, posting eight sub-13-second performances. At the Trials, she won her opening two heats to advance to the semifinals. "I came into the Trials ranked moderately high but I was running immaculately," Wells recalled. In that semifinal heat, she blazed to victory in a personal-best 12.58 and was looking like a real threat to make the team when disaster struck. "As I was crossing the finish line, I looked up at the board and saw 12.58 and I was like, 'Yes! I'm ready,'" Wells said. "As I was slowing down, my hamstring tore. I hit the ground and it was the worst pain I had ever felt. I wasn't able to compete in the final."

When it came time for college, Wells opted for Hampton University, a historically black college that lacks the track & field reputation of much larger Division 1 institutions. Wells thrived in that atmosphere, earning NCAA All-America and Academic All-America honors twice while leading Hampton to indoor and outdoor MEAC championships each of her four years. "I went to a smaller school, and we kind of get overlooked at times," Wells said. "I was always ranked pretty high in the nation. It wasn't that I wasn't a permanent fixture as a hurdler, but it was tough going to a smaller school and not the Floridas or the USCs. Even in my class, we had Ginnie Crawford, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, and Dawn Harper so there were a lot of people to pay attention to."

When Wells was 8 years old, her parents divorced and she and her siblings lived with their mother. In 2001, she experienced the worst tragedy of her life when her mother, Jeannette, was killed in an automobile accident. "We were not a rich family but I had one of the hardest working mothers in the world that provided my siblings and me with the things that we wanted and needed," Wells said. "The car accident totally uprooted my life as I knew it. That one event changed my life completely. With support from family and friends I was able to get my life back on track and keep moving forward as I know my mother would have wanted me to."

In 2010, Wells revealed in a blog that she was sexually abused during her teen years by her mother's boyfriend, who she said touched her "more times than I can count." But in July 2011, Wells revealed the full extent of that painful time in her life and, in an interview with ThePostGame.com, admitted to being raped by the man during her sophomore year in high school. When she told her mother and got no response, she decided to move out. A few weeks later, her mother and abuser were killed in the car accident.

Wells got her start in running when she was in middle school. Her sister Tonni, who is six years her elder, was a runner so naturally little sister followed in those footsteps. But Wells' entire family had a running background. Her mother, Jeannette, was a sprinter and her father, Fred, was a distance runner. "It was almost this unspoken thing," Wells said. "Everyone ran."



KELLIE WELLS: FACTS

How tall is Kellie Wells? How old is Kellie Wells? Where does Kellie Wells live? Find out here.

Age: 32 years old
Birthday: July 16, 1982
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 126 lbs.
Birthplace: Richmond, VA
Current Residence: Orlando, FL





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