Merritt a deserving 110m hurdles champion
Updated: 2012-08-09 11:55:59
LONDON - Aries Merritt ran a personal best of 12.92 to win the gold medal as the United States took 1-2 in the final of the 110 meters hurdle.
Merritt got a flying start and held off the challenge of world champion Jason Richardson and Jamaica's Hansle Parchment to secure what in the end was a comfortable win. It is the first gold medal that the US have taken in the event since Allen Johnson took gold in Atlanta in 1996.
Aries Merritt of the US celebrates after winning the men's 110m hurdles final during the London 2012 Olympics Games at the Olympic Stadium, Aug 8, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
"I am so excited, words can't explain how excited I am," said Merritt afterwards.
It was a race that lived up to the expectations that had been raised earlier in the evening, although Merritt admitted that it been impossible to set a new world record.
"Everyone said it could be a world record beforehand, but you can't do that if you don't have the conditions. I had to run into a headwind," he explained.
The race ended in disappointment for Cuba's Olympic champion, Dayron Robles, who pulled up halfway through the race with a hamstring injury. The loss of Robles, coupled with the injury suffered by China's Liu Xiang, who damaged his Achilles tendon in the heats did nothing to take the shine off Merritt's win.
"I trained for this, it is very intensive," Merritt said, adding that he had done all he could in order to take the tension out of his performance.
"When I practice, I do some ridiculous things, so I thought I'd try and do that here. I work so well in practice when there is no pressure, so I tried to repeat that," he explained.
Merritt highlighted the importance of his win in an event where the US had traditionally dominated, but failed to win in the last three Olympics.
"Gold means everything, we have not had gold since Allen Johnson, so to be able to take it back home is important," he concluded.
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