American Aries Merritt Wins 110-Meter Hurdles
American Aries Merritt took the 110-meter hurdles Wednesday night at Olympic Stadium in one of the most hotly contested races of the London Olympics. World record holder Dayron Robles pulled up mid-race with what appeared to be a hamstring pullText:?
American Aries Merritt took the 110-meter hurdles Wednesday night at Olympic Stadium in one of the most hotly contested races of the London Olympics.
Merritt ran a season-best 12.92, steaming away from teammate Jason Richardson, who finished in 13.04. World record holder Dayron Robles pulled up mid-race with what appeared to be a hamstring pull.
The 110 hurdles was arguably the most competitive event of the games. Five of the competitors who entered the opening heats had broken the magic barrier of 13 seconds in the race, something just 14 men in history have ever done. Just three of them survived for the final – Robles, Richardson and Merritt.
Men's 110 Hurdles May Be Tightest Race
Robles, the defending champion, has been hurt for much of the season, and hasn't been able to compete as much as he would have liked coming into the games. But he is the Usain Bolt of hurdles, and few expected him to lose if he was in form. He wasn't, and like China's Liu Xiang, who re-injured his Achilles in the preliminary heat, failed to finish.
In other track action, Allyson Felix finally claimed her gold. Twice a silver medalist in the Olympic 200-meter dash, Felix took the lead on the turn Wednesday night and held off all challengers to finish first, in 21.88 seconds. Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was second in 22.09. American Carmelita Jeter, who finished second in the 100 meters at these games, won bronze in 22.14.
Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 200 meters entering the games, finished fourth in 22.38. The 30-year-old missed the chance to become the first woman to win the event three consecutive times.
Felix, 26 years old, might be best known recently for winning the third and final U.S. spot to London in the 100 meters after the woman she tied with in the trials, Jeneba Tarmoh, declined a runoff. She finished fifth in the event at the games.
Felix also will run in the 4-by-100-meter relay, whose first round is Thursday.
Separately, it took American Brittney Reese just two jumps to win Olympic gold in the women's long jump.
Reese, the sport's leading jumper for the past three seasons, reached 7.12 meters on her second attempt of the night, and none of the other women – or even Reese herself – could best it.
Russia's Elena Sokolova won silver, jumping a personal best 7.07 meters. American Janay Deloach came from behind in the fifth of six jumps to win bronze with 6.89 meters.
Reese knew she was guaranteed gold even before her final jump of the evening, after Russia's Sokolova failed to best her in her final jump.
The last American to win gold in the event was Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who set the Olympic record of 7.40 meters in 1988.
Russia's Natalya Antyukh narrowly bested Lashinda Demus of the U.S. in the 400 meter final, denying a gold medal to the American runner looking to put the cherry on a long comeback. The Czech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova took home the bronze.
The 29-year-old Demus started fast but found herself a half step behind coming out of the final hurdle, and couldn't quite close the gap. Antyukh finished in 52.70, with Demus at 52.77.
Two other U.S. athletes, Georganne Moline and T'erea Brown, finished fifth and sixth respectively. Demus's silver medal gives the U.S track and field 14 in all, evenly split between men and women.