24 January, 2019

Aries Merritt: World Record Breaker

  • © Jiro Mochizuki

2012 was a special year for USATF sprint hurdles star Aries Merritt. Having sparkled his way to the gold medal at the London Olympics earlier in the summer, Merritt lined up at the Diamond League Final in Brussels with just one thing on his mind: the world record.

At that time, nobody had ever broken a world record at an IAAF Diamond League meeting, but Merritt didn't care. After his exploits in London, Brussels was waiting with baited breath for what promised to be a historic race. 

Few could have expected the 110m hurdles to be quite as sensational as it turned out to be, however.

Merritt, propelled by the blistering form he was enjoying that year, surged away from the rest of the field, gliding over the hurdles with supreme confidence and reaching the line in what seemed a remarkably quick time. 

It seemed so, because it was. Merritt had not only broken the world record, he had obliterated it, clocking 12.80 and shaving seven hundredths of a second of Dayron Robles previous mark. 

It was, by some distance, the fastest any athlete has run the 110m hurdles, and even Merritt seemed unable to believe what he had done. 

As if a world record and an Olympic gold medal weren't enough, the victory also saw Merritt secure the Diamond Trophy. 

He also became the first world record breaker in Diamond League history, though he would later be joined in that particular hall of fame by the likes of Genzebe Dibaba, Kendra Harrison and others.