Aries Merritt, WR, 110m hurdles: The RunblogRun Interview, by Larry Eder

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The 110 meter hurdles is an event that has required the attention of some of the greatest athletes in our sport. Renaldo Nehemiah, Greg Foster, Rod Milburn, Guy Drut, Dayron Robles, Allen Johnson, Liu Xiang, Colin Jackson, and now, Aries Merritt, have given the event their very best.  The event continues to attract great athletes. 

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Aries Merritt, World Record, 110m hurdles, 12.80! 

The 110 meters is also about the competition. Jason Richardson, the 2011 World Champion, and Aries Merritt, the 2012 Olympic champion and now World record holder have not avoided each other in competition. They race each other on a sometimes weekly basis. This type of competition brings out the best in athletes.

The 110 meter hurdles requires speed and agility. It is the favorite event of many track & field fans. It is one of my favorites. 

Jason Richardson, the second fastest 110m hurdler in 2012, and the Olympic silver medalist, during an interview last weekend in Newcastle, England,  noted the following: " I enjoy racing against Aries Merritt. He is now the world record holder and I wanted to congratulate him on his fantastic season and world record." 

Thanks to Aries Merritt for taking some time out of the celebration of his 12.80 new World record (and manager Rich Kenah for finding Aries), to answer our questions. 

One final comment: Aries Merritt did not just break the World Record, he just destroyed the record. One keen observer doubted if we will see the record broken in the next decade.

What a way to end the 2012 track & field season!



"Run for your life"
RBR, #1: You now have the WR and an Olympic gold medal, how does that feel?   

Aries Merritt: Feels satisfying because I have accomplished everything I ever wanted to in my life in track.   


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110m Oly Trials: Richardson, Merritt, Porter, Oliver, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, #2: Tell us about the Olympic Trials, where you just flew through the rounds? 

Aries Merritt: Olympic Trials was nerve wracking. More so than the Games or Brussels.  If you make one mistake, you don't make the team and the 4 year wait begins. Hardest team to make for sure is Team USA, so you need to be ready.

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Aries Merritt, 2012 London Olympics, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, #3: You raced well before the Olympics, could you tell a fast time was coming? 

Aries Merritt: I knew eventually a fast time (would be) coming, I just didn't know when.  After the Games...I first thought it would happen in Lausanne, but that was a good lesson.  Don't chase records. Execute well and fast races will happen.

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Aries Merritt, 2012 London Olympic, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, #4: What do you remember about the Olympic final? 

Aries Merritt: I remember being calm and waiting on the gun, once it fired I remember halfway through the race, Dayron yelled, and at that moment I  thought..."Run for your life"


RBR, #5: After London, it was your goal to run fast, how did those races feel? 

Aries Merritt: It was my goal to break the World Record, given the conditions supported it. I wasn't tapped out at 12.92 and I knew that deep down.

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Aries Merritt, AVIVA London 2012, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, # 6: You had one race where you false started, how did you refocus your energy after that race? 

Aries Merritt: Things like this happen in track and field. You have to immediately move on and not dwell in the past or it will effect later performances.  I was disappointed, but put it behind me by the next day.

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Aries Merritt, 2012 Belgacom Brussels, post World Record, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, #7: Did you feel that you were ready to run this fast?
 
Aries Merritt: I was ready to run extremely fast, but 12.80 never entered my mind.

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Aries Merritt, 12.80 WR, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, # 8: Tell us about the WR race race today?
 
Aries Merritt: It was a very solid race.. good start, good clearance over the top of the hurdle, good speed in between, and a good run in off the last hurdle. I just managed to put an entire race together. 

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Aries Merritt, 2012 Oly Trials, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, # 9: You realize that your breaking of the world record was the largest margin since Renaldo Nehemiah went 12.93 in 1981? Any thoughts on that? 

Aries Merritt: That's a really nice stat that I didn't know. Renaldo was a legend and to be mentioned in the same sentence means I'm doing something right.  A few decades after I retire, I hope I can be someone that future hurdlers are compared to.


RBR, # 10: How did you get started hurdling? 

Aries Merritt: Jumping a fence in high school because of a dare.

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Merritt wins World Indoors over Liu Xiang, March 2012, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, 11: What is it about the 110 hurdles that attracted you to the event? 

Aries Merritt: The fact that you need speed and agility, as well as flexiblity and grace to be successful. The finished product is a work of art.

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Merritt, Richardson, AVIVA London, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, # 12: You have now run 12.80, can you run faster?
 
Aries Merritt: I think I can run faster given conditions and better overall execution. I guess I've never put limits on myself so I'm not about to start now.  Honestly though, I need to sit down with my coach and rethink what is possible going forward.

13. Congratulations once again, on such a fantastic season! Can you give us the name of your coach and where you train? 

Aries Merritt: Andreas Behm is my coach and Texas A&M University is where I train.


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A prophetic numero uno, Aries Merritt at Monaco DL (July 2012), 
photo by PhotoRun.net

Special thanks to Aries Merritt, and Rich Kenah/Global Athletics & Marketing, for putting the interview together. RBR interviews work like this: We send you questions, you answer them. We correct grammar and spelling, if any, but words are the athletes. 

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