Jamaican Olympian sprint hurdler dies from cancer

Jamaica Olympic 100m hurdler Dionne Rose Henley died on Monday night after a battle with cancer.

She was 49.

Rose-Henley, who celebrated her 49th birthday last month, was reportedly taken off life support on the weekend when rumours of her death began to circulate.

As part of a crop of trailblazing female hurdlers, which included the likes of Delloreen Ennis-London, Vonette Dixon and Gillian Russell, Rose Henley represented Jamaica at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona where she made the semi-finals, before reaching the final four years later in Atlanta.  The hurdler placed fifth in that final.

Rose Henley, a two-time national champion then went on to represent the country at the 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001 World Championships and twice claimed gold at the CAC Games.  The athlete was part of a one-two finish ahead of Russell at the 1998 Games in Venezuela, before claiming the title again in El Salvador 2002.

After retiring from the sport, Rose Henley took up coaching at her alma mater Middle Tennessee State University for two seasons before moving to Tennessee State University.  She then journeyed to Central Michigan where she spent seven years.  Last summer Rose Henley was named Coastal Carolina assistant track and field coach, where she focused on the sprints, hurdles and relays.

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