In his final piece from Zurich, Stuart Weir writes and opines on the exciting 110m hurdle season in 2021. Lots to consider!
Men’s 110 h
Who has been the best male sprint hurdler of 2021? It is a good question.
Had you asked the question any time before the Olympic final, they would only have been one answer – Grant Holloway. On the indoor circuit – 10 races in four countries and ten wins. And a 7.29 World record. Outdoors prior to the Olympic final 15 races, 15 wins including a 12.81 and a 12.96. But in the Olympic final, running 13.09, he finished second. That ended his 2021 twenty-five race winning streak.
Hansle Parchment has run 13 sprint hurdles races in 2021, only winning five of them. BUT one of the wins was the Olympic final in 13.04. And long after Grant Holloway’s wins in Madrid, Poland, Hungary, Eugene and Jacksonville have been forgotten, Parchment will be in the record books as Olympic champion. He said of his Tokyo victory: “It’s the greatest feeling, the greatest feeling, I’ve worked so hard. It’s unbelievable that I caught this guy (Holloway). I’m really grateful. A lot of times, after the final hurdle, I’m kind of leaning too early, and my coach reminded me to run through the line – and that’s what I did.”
Holloway’s assessment of Tokyo was: “Everybody knows I’m going to get out strong. Now it just comes to a point where I’ve got to finish strong. “I did it once when I was two shaves (0.02s) off the world record so I know I can do it. I just think the nerves, the big atmosphere got the best of me a little bit. But I’m young, I’ve got a lot of races under my belt so I’ll take this with a grain of salt and I keep moving forward”.
In Zurich, Holloway was absent and Parchment was third (13.17), Ronald Levy (13.06) second and Devon Allen (also timed at 13.06)
I spoke to Devon in Lausanne 2 weeks ago and he said that he had run well in the first two rounds in Tokyo and had set himself up for a sub 13 in the final but it didn’t happen but with a number of races left in the season he was confident that he could keep getting faster. He seems to have peaked at the second best moment of the season.
His comments on Zurich were: “I was a bit disappointed for the Olympic Games but I had to get up and make up for it in the next competitions. So it is great. The atmosphere at the stadium is amazing – you can hear it. It has been so long since we had so many fans so it is pretty cool. Honestly, when I start pretty well, I finish well. I was kind of trying to keep it clean and hopefully I can break the 13 seconds in the next races and that would be a good sign for the next year. To be honest, this has been my best season ever. I was most consistent, close to the PB so it was pretty good and I am so thankful to my college coach. It has been a long season and I had some injuries last year”.
Conclusion: It is hard to argue against Grant Holloway as the outstanding hurdler of 2021 yet by his own admission, he allowed the Olympic occasion to get the better of him. Hansle Parchment is the 2020 Olympic champion and always will be but will he be a one season wonder? Devon Allen may run Holloway closer next year than one might have expected.