Perdita Felicien

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Perdita Felicien
Perdita Felicien TK cropped.jpg
Personal information
Born (1980-08-29) 29 August 1980 (age 39)
Oshawa, Ontario
Height5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight140 lb (64 kg)
Sport100 m hurdles
Turned pro2003
RetiredOctober 24, 2013[1]
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 m hurdles: 12.46 NR, Eugene, 2004
Updated on July 2012.

Perdita Felicien (born August 29, 1980) is a Canadian retired hurdler. Felicien is the 2003 World champion in the 100 metres hurdles and 2004 World indoor champion in the 60 metres hurdles. She also won silver medals at the 2007 World Championships, the 2010 World Indoor Championships, and twice at the Pan American Games. Her best time for the 100 metres hurdles of 12.46 secs from 2004 still stands as the Canadian record (as of 2018).

Early life[edit]

Born in Oshawa, Ontario, Felicien carries her mother's maiden name, whose origins are in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia. Her mother named her "Perdita" after a contestant on the television game show, The Price Is Right.

Felicien moved to Pickering, Ontario, where, as a student, she began competing in track and field events at her school. She was motivated to join her school's track and field team after receiving an Award of Excellence in the Canada Fitness Award Program in grade 3.[2][3] At first, she competed in the 100m dash, inspired by Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin of Canada, later adding the 200m dash and long jump. Felicien dedicated herself to hurdling at Pine Ridge Secondary School and won the Ontario high-school hurdling championship in 1998. That year she added the first of two consecutive Canadian junior championships. Her performance at a scholastic meet in Ohio brought offers of athletic scholarships from a number of U.S. universities from which she chose the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she enrolled in the study of kinesiology.


Coached by Gary Winckler, in her first year competing at the university level, Felicien earned All-American honors and in the 100m hurdles set the record for the fastest time by a freshman in NCAA history for the event. The following year she was ranked No. 1 in the 100 m hurdles by the NCAA for the entire outdoor season and was the first Illinois athlete to ever win a national championship during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Her performance earned her the first of three consecutive University of Illinois Female Athlete of the Year awards and she was voted the U.S. Track Coaches Association National Female Outdoor Athlete of the Year.

An undefeated Felicien won her second consecutive 100 m hurdles national title in 2003 en route to becoming the first University of Illinois female athlete to be named the Big Ten Conference "Athlete of the Year" while earning NCAA Female Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors. Felicien blossomed into a major force on the international scene in hurdling, topping off her season by winning the women's 100 m Hurdles Final at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris, France. With her win, Felicien became Canada's first ever female world gold medallist and the first female in Illinois track & field history to win a gold medal in an individual event at the World Championships. She was named Canada's female athlete of the year – the first track athlete to capture that honor in 25 years.

A much-anticipated showdown with hurdling great Gail Devers took place in March 2004. Felicien set a new record in defeating the three-time hurdles world champion in the 60 m hurdle final at the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary. She chalked up six straight wins leading up to the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, where she was expected to win gold in the 100 m hurdles on August 24, especially after Devers pulled out with an injury. Unexpectedly, in the event final, Felicien failed to clear the first hurdle and fell into the adjacent lane knocking down the Russian competitor, Irina Shevchenko and taking her out of the race and a chance at an Olympic medal, much to the obvious dismay of Shevchenko.

Felicien returned to the track, and had some success, winning medals at the world championships, alongside her teammate Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. In 2007, she won a silver medal at the world championships in the 100 metre hurdles.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Felicien did not compete due to a foot injury. In August 2008, Felicien was a guest commentator for CBC Television's 2008 Olympics coverage of hurdles.[4]

During the summer of 2011, Felicien relocated to the University of Calgary in Alberta to train under the tutelage of former national team head coach, Les Gramantik and her old coach, Gary Winckler. She also partnered with Jessica Zelinka, ranked the sixth-best heptathlete in the world. In June 2012, Felicien failed to qualify for the Canadian Olympic team for the 2012 London Olympics. She had finished third in the 2012 Canadian Olympic trials for track and field, in the 100m hurdles event, under protest. However, she false started, and was disqualified.[5]

Felicien retired from competition in 2013.[6] She went back to school to study journalism, and was a writer/reporter with CHCH News in Hamilton, Ontario. She was part of the broadcasting team for the Toronto 2015 PanAm Games coverage. In 2018, Felicien joined the CBC broadcast team as a host during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea.


Perdita is a proud supporter of Count Me In, the largest youth-run organization in Canada. She spoke to at the 2013 Count Me In Conference in Toronto, inspiring thousands of students to get involved in their communities through volunteerism.

Perdita is also an active ambassador for Right To Play.

Track & Field accomplishments[edit]



  • World Indoor Silver Medallist
  • 60m hurdles 7.86
  • Drake Relays Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Continental Cup Bronze Medallist


  • Canadian National Champion
  • World Championship Finalist


  • Injured


  • 2007 IAAF World Championships Silver Medallist 100m hurdles-12.49
  • Pan Am Games Silver Medallist
  • Canadian Track and Field Athlete of the Year
  • 2007 Ontario Female Athlete of the Year


  • Canadian National Champion
  • World Championship Semi-Finalist


  • World Indoor Champion in the 60 m hurdles
  • Olympic Finalist
  • Canadian National Champion
  • City of Pickering Civic Award
  • Canadian Track and Field Athlete of the Year


  • World Champion in the 100 m hurdles
  • Big Ten Champion in the 60 m and 100 m hurdles
  • Drake Relays Most Outstanding Athlete
  • Canadian Female Athlete of the Year
  • Canadian Track and Field Athlete of the Year
  • Canadian National Champion
  • Pan Am Games Silver Medallist
  • University of Illinois Athlete of the Year
  • Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Year


  • NCAA Champion in the 100 m hurdles
  • University of Illinois Female Athlete of the Year
  • Drake Relays Most Outstanding Athlete
  • NCAA Record holder in the 60 m hurdles, 7.90 seconds
  • NCAA Champion in the 60 m hurdles
  • Big Ten Champion in the 60 m hurdles
  • All-American in the 60 m hurdles
  • Canadian National Champion
  • University of Illinois Female Athlete of the Year


  • All-American in the 100 m hurdles
  • All-American in the 60 m hurdles
  • USTCA National Female Athlete of the Year
  • Big Ten Female Outdoor Athlete of the Year
  • University of Illinois Female Athlete of the Year
  • Big Ten Indoor Freshman of the Year
  • World Track and Field Championship Semifinalist
  • Francophone Games Champion
  • University of Illinois Female Athlete of the Year


  • Olympian
  • Big Ten Outdoor Freshman of the Year
  • All-American in the 100 m hurdles
  • Canadian National Champion


  • Canadian Junior Champion 100mh


  • Canadian Junior Champion 100mh
  • OFSAA 100mh Record Holder-13.41
  • 1998 OFSAA Champion 100mh
  • 1998 OFSAA Silver 100m
  • 1998 OFSAA Champion 200m-24.67

1997 OFSAA Silver Medallist 100m


  1. ^ "Canadian hurdler Perdita Felicien announces retirement". 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  2. ^ Grove, Jim (16 June 2012). "Perdita Felicien: Olympic Track and Field, 100m Hurdles". Active for Life.
  3. ^ "Felicien tells Reding students of Right to Play's impact overseas". Milton Canadian Champion. Metroland. 20 February 2013.
  4. ^ CBC Television, Olympic Morning, 19 Aug 2008
  5. ^ Dave Feschuk (30 June 2012). "London 2012: Zelinka wins, Felicien and Lopes-Schliep fail to qualify at Olympic trials". Toronto Star. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  6. ^ Retrieved 2013-10-29. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]