LONDON – The American men finally had their golden moment at the track-and-field venue Wednesday night when Aries Merritt won the 110-meter hurdles in convincing fashion.
Merritt had American company in earning a medal. Teammate Jason Richardson finished second and Jamaican Hansle Parchment was third. World-record holder and defending Olympic champion Dayron Robles of Cuba pulled up with an apparent leg injury midway through the race.
Merritt has been the world’s fastest hurdler in 2012, and that did not change here in London. He had the fastest time in round one Tuesday morning, then backed it up with the fastest time in the semifinals early Thursday evening. He finished the job later that night. His time of 12.92 seconds was his personal best by 0.01 and the fastest time of the year in the world.
Merritt's competition was thinned by the shocking injury to Chinese star Liu Xiang, who hit the first hurdle of his first-round heat. It was the second-straight Olympic disaster for Liu, who won gold in 2004 but was felled by injury at the beginning of the 2008 competition and again here.
America’s hurdle haul helped boost a U.S. men’s track team that has taken its lumps in London. Coming into Wednesday, the American men had won four silver medals and three bronze, but had not yet reached the top of the podium. That changed in less than 13 seconds, thanks to Merritt.
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