Do you remember the London Olympics in 2012? This is something American hurdler Aries Merritt (born 24 July 1985), surely will never forget.
He started by gaining Gold in the 60-metre hurdles at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul beating Liu Xiang and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde with a time of 7.44 seconds in the final. The summer season already had positive indications due to the American Olympic qualifiers, where he won the 110-metre hurdles with 12.93 seconds. This was followed by two more races at 12.93, and achieving the Olympic Gold medal in London, where he ran 12.92. Following two more races under 13 seconds (12.95 and 12.97) the perfect season was highlighted by the incredible world record, 12.80 seconds – in the final of the Diamond League in Brussels. Incredibly, he sliced 0.07 seconds off the old world record held by Cuba’s Dayron Robles, which in this discipline has not happened since 1981 by Renaldo Nehemiah.
To sum up, the first seven best results in the world rankings during 2012 featured Aries Merritt. With such an explosion of results, Merritt was credited with reaching the first hurdle from eight to seven steps, which all of his opponents could not match.
“It was simply a perfect year. I won all the competitions in 2012 and smashed almost every record that I could break. Every time I came to the track, I ended up breaking some kind of record. It was both fun and amazing at the same time as I actually didn’t go out there to break these records. I was simply just trying to better prepare for the London Olympics and make an impact over there and in fact it was a fairytale season for me” explained Merritt on a season that will be a challenge to replicate.
His injury last year to the femoral muscle, kept him off the tracks, and this year he still did not come close to the 13 seconds limit so the Hanžeković Memorial is certainly a good opportunity for that. The Olympic Silver medalist Jason Richardson, the European Champion Sergei Šubenkov, William Sharman and others should help him do it.