Kate Hall-Harnden’s bid at a berth in the 2021 Summer Olympics has been ended by injury.
Hall-Harnden, the former high school and NCAA long jump champion from Casco, announced in an Instagram post Thursday that she has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.
“One week before I was going to compete in my first competition in a year, I was at the gym and tipped a 30-inch box over by landing on the back edge of it,” she wrote in her post. “Trying to catch my fall, I hyperextended my left knee. Initially I was confident it was just sore from the hyperextension, but after an MRI on Tuesday, I found out that I completely tore my ACL.”
While Hall-Harnden did not indicate what her plans are regarding surgery, she acknowledged that the injury would prevent her from competing in this year’s Summer Olympics, which are scheduled July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo.
“I’m completely devastated to have to say that since the recovery is so long, the Olympics are out of the question for this year,” she wrote. “In 2012 when I was only jumping 16 feet, I made the decision that I was going to be at the 2016 Olympic Trials and the 2020 [now 2021] Tokyo Olympics if I worked as hard as I could. Although I accomplished my goal of being at the 2016 Olympic Trials, my heart is broken that I won’t have a chance to make the Olympics this year; something I know I would have done if I was healthy.”
The 24-year-old Hall-Harnden, a Type-1 diabetic with celiac disease, first became known nationally when she capped off her senior year of track at Lake Region High School in Naples by breaking the girls national high school long jump record with a leap of 22 feet, 5 inches.
That effort not only broke the oldest high school field record at the time — 39 years — but also surpassed the U.S. Junior (under age 20) mark and placed her in a tie for ninth in the 2015 world rankings.
While competing for Lake Region, Hall-Harnden was an eight-time high school All-American who won 26 individual state championships in indoor and outdoor track and six individual New England championships. She also was a three-time Maine Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Hall-Harnden then spent one year at Iowa State and two years at the University of Georgia, where she won NCAA Division I long jump championships both indoors (2018) and outdoors (2017) and also placed sixth at the 2018 NCAA indoor championships in the 60-meter dash.
The five-time All-American Georgia records in the indoor long jump (22-1), indoor 60 meters (7.17 seconds) and outdoor long jump (22-1).
Hall-Harnden left college in 2018 to focus on world competition and went on to capture the 2019 U.S. Track and Field indoor long jump title and finish second in the same event in 2020.
“This definitely is not the end for me though,” wrote Hall-Harnden, who was married last October. “Strength has been [ingrained] in me since I was diagnosed with type one diabetes at age 10. I have always worked hard to accomplish my goals, and my motivation to one day become an Olympian is one thing that won’t waver through these hard times.”