The United States is synonymous with men's gold in the 110-meter high hurdles.
Thanks to 27-year-old Aries Merritt, that once again held true in London. With a blazing time of 12.92 seconds, Merritt grabbed the gold while countryman Jason Richardson took home silver (via New York Times' Christopher Clarey):
Aries Merritt of USA beautiful run to win gold in 110h hurdles in 12.92, Jason Richardson of USA silver. Robles pulls up midway through— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) August 8, 2012
Merritt entered London fresh off a gold-medal victory in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
But 110 meters outdoors is much different than 60 meters inside; plus, Merritt had some stiff competition. Richardson was the defending world champion, while Dayron Robles of Cuba was the defending Olympic champion and world-record holder.
No worry, though, as the slight underdog made it look like he was the heavy favorite, running a gorgeous race on his way to a personal-best time when he needed it most. Merritt's time of 12.92 seconds was .02 seconds faster than his semifinal run, which was also the best of the day.
Richardson, who coasted to a semifinal win in his heat, was a solid favorite to take home gold, but he just couldn't keep up with his American teammate. Nonetheless, settling for silver isn't a bad consolation.
Of course, Americans taking first and second in this event is nothing new (via ESPN's Paul Carr):
This is the 14th time in 27 Olympics that USA has swept gold and silver in the men's 110m hurdles.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) August 8, 2012
Robles, meanwhile, will go down as one of the bigger disappointments of these Olympic games. The former best hurdler in the world came up lame, clutching his hamstring, unable to finish the race.
His injury opened up the door for Jamaica's Hansle Parchment, owner of arguably the best name in London, to take home bronze with a time of 13.12.