Aries Merritt

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Aries Merritt
Aries Merritt Istanbul 2012 cropped.jpg
Merritt during 2012 World Indoor Championships.
Personal information
Born (1985-07-24) July 24, 1985 (age 29)
Chicago, Illinois
Residence Bryan, Texas
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg)
Sport
Sport Running
Event(s) Hurdles
College team Tennessee Volunteers
Updated on 8 August 2012.

Aries Merritt (born July 24, 1985) is an American track and field athlete who specializes in the 110 meter hurdles, and currently holds the world record in that event with a time of 12.80 s set on September 7, 2012.[1] He won the gold medal in the 110 meter hurdles at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Background[edit]

Born in Chicago, Illinois, he moved to Marietta, Georgia at a young age, attending Joseph Wheeler High School, where he was teammates with Reggie Witherspoon. Merritt ran for the University of Tennessee from 2003 to 2006 and had a successful college career, a seven-time All-American. He took the 110 meter hurdles gold at the 2004 World Junior Championships and finished sixth at the 2006 World Athletics Final. Also in 2006, he won the NCAA Championships, was undefeated in all hurdles events that year, and broke Willie Gault's University of Tennessee hurdles record. His victory at the NCAA Championships in 13.21 s was the second fastest ever collegiate time in the United States, behind only Renaldo Nehemiah. He reached the World Athletics Final in 2008, finishing in fourth. Aries is the first hurdler to ever win gold in the US Indoor Championship, the World Indoor Championship (Istanbul, Turkey), the US Olympic Trials, and the Olympic Games all in the same year.

Professional athletics career[edit]

2011[edit]

In the final of the 110m hurdles at the 2011 World Champions in Athletics, Merritt was initially classified 6th, with a time of 13.67 s. After Dayron Robles was disqualified, Merritt was promoted to 5th. His season's best was 13.12 s, achieved in Eugene, Oregon and Oslo.

2012[edit]

Merritt began the 2012 campaign by altering his approach to the first hurdle, switching from eight to seven steps.[2] In an interview he stated, "[it] was pretty risky to make a change like that, but something had to be done if I was going to compete with (Liu Xiang of China and Dayron Robles of Cuba). The change allows me to maintain my momentum going into the first barrier." Merrit's change was highly successful for the 2012 indoor season as he became the indoor world champion in the 60 meters hurdles at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. In the final, he beat Liu Xiang and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde with a time of 7.44 s.

2012 Summer Olympics[edit]

At the Olympic trials in Oregon, Merritt won the 110 meter hurdles final in a world leading time of 12.93 s,[3] making the Olympic team for the first time. Merritt subsequently matched the time at two consecutive Diamond League events, at Crystal Palace and Monaco, winning both races.

At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Merritt began by running the fastest qualifying time in the heats with a time of 13.07 s. In the semi-finals, he was again dominant with a time of 12.94 s. In the final, Dayron Robles and Merritt got the fastest starts but Merritt pulled ahead at hurdle 3. He continued to a personal best of 12.92 s and a 0.12 s win over reigning world champion Jason Richardson.[4][5]

World record[edit]

On September 7, 2012, at the final Diamond League meet (Memorial Van Damme) in Brussels, Belgium, Merritt ran a time of 12.80 s in the 110 meter hurdles, shattering the old world record of 12.87 s held by Dayron Robles. Merritt's performance was the largest drop in the world record for 110 meter hurdles (0.07 s) since 1981.[6] Merrit ran consistently throughout the 2012 season. The following are his times that lead-up to his world record performance in the 110 meter hurdles:

Meet Date Time
2012 U.S. Olympic Trials (final) June 30, 2012 12.93
Aviva London Grand Prix July 13, 2012 12.93
Herculis July 20, 2012 12.93
2012 Summer Olympics (final) August 8, 2012 12.92
Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix August 26, 2012 12.95
Internationales Stadionfest September 2, 2012 12.97
Belgacom Memorial Van Damme September 7, 2012 12.80 World Record

Personal bests[edit]

Event Best Location Date Note(s)
55 meters hurdles 7.10 s Gainesville, Florida, United States January 21, 2006
60 meters hurdles 7.43 s Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States February 26, 2012
110 meters hurdles 12.80 s Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2012 WR
200 meters 21.46 s Bloomington, Indiana, United States January 7, 2006
400 meters hurdles 51.94 s Knoxville, Tennessee, United States April 9, 2004

International competition record[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  United States
2004 World Junior Championships Grosseto, Italy 1st 110 m hurdles 13.56
2009 World Championships Berlin, Germany 27th (h) 110 m hurdles 13.70
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 5th 110 m hurdles 13.67
2012 World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 1st 60 m hurdles 7.44
Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 1st 110 m hurdles 12.92
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 6th 110 m hurdles 13.31

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by
Cuba Dayron Robles
Men's 110 m hurdles world record holder
September 7, 2012 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent