Olympic Games Athletics – Hurdles

The fast track in the Olympic stadium made me think that a world record might be broken in one of the sprint hurdles. For me the men’s 110 hurdles record is due a revision. Over the last thirty years only a few hundredths of a second have been taken off the record and each time it goes it is by a fraction. Surely at some point someone will run a prefect race and take it down to around 12.80. The record stayed this time but it is getting closer.

It doesn’t appear that Liu Xiang will be the man to do it. For the second Olympics in a row injury struck and he clearly went into the race knowing he had little chance. He was one of three fallers at the first hurdle of his heat and with a fourth going later in the race it was more like the Grand National than the Olympics.  That enabled Andy Turner to make the semis but he no longer appears the force he was. However, this is one event where Britain appears to have a bright future with some very promising youngsters emerging. Russia also have a potential star on their hands so this could be interesting in the next few years. There seems to be a changing of the guard in this event with new names replacing the champions of the last decade.

That is not something that could be said of the 400 hurdles where Felix Sanchez became the second man in successive Games to regain his title after an 8 year gap. This came completely out of the blue and his form certainly shocked Dai Greene who was lucky to make the final and didn’t ever look like winning that. The event isn’t that strong at the moment which means that someone who can hit form and get under 48 seconds has always got a chance.

An event that is strong is the women’s 100 hurdles. Sally Pearson is getting within sight of the world record set in 1988 and I thought she might break it in London. The evening of the final was the one night where conditions weren’t good with rain and cooler temperatures. She still broke the Olympic record but I wonder if she will get as fast a track again to break the record while she is running so well.

The women’s 400 hurdles had been very weak this year before the Games with times in the high 53  seconds at the top of the rankings. Things did improve at the Olympics with some sub-53 times but we are still no faster than Sally Gunnell twenty years ago. I’m still waiting for a really good flat 400 metre runner to make the transition to the hurdles and take the world record close to or under 52 seconds. It could be that the new Olympic Champion Antyukh is that runner but at 31 I’m not sure she’ll get much faster.

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