Before opening his season last weekend with a marginally wind-assisted 13.23 clocking in Fayetteville, Olympic 110m Hurdles champion and World record-holder Aries Merritt was visited by a handful of overseas journalists who gained an insight into his daily routine.
“The outdoor season is here! I really enjoy this time of year. Meets are getting started, workouts are getting intense and the weather is getting warm.
“I've got some smaller, tune-up events coming up and my first Diamond League competition will be in Shanghai on May 18. The flight for this meet is a long one and the jet lag kicks my butt, but I like racing there. Because it’s the hometown of Liu Xiang, the spectators are big fans of the hurdles.
“I had some visitors here in Texas this week. A handful of international reporters from Europe, Asia and the Caribbean spent two days with me. We talked hurdle training, dogs, Moscow, past, present and future hurdlers, goals for 2013, music and even touched on one of my favourite topics – video games.
“It was kind of cool to see how closely some international reporters follow the men's and women's hurdles, previous champions and the progression of the World record. I’m not sure if they were impressed by me or my training routine but they seemed really impressed with the size and quality of the athletics facilities here at Texas A&M University. It’s amazing what a good American football program can do for a University!
“Speaking of good football programs, I was in Oregon last week. Ducks are a good nickname for them because only a duck could enjoy the standard 50°F rainy weather they had each day I was there. I went to a Portland Trailblazers game when I was there. The team isn't that good this year but I did run into one of the NBA’s top rookies, Damian Lillard, at a local restaurant while there.
“On the subject of the NBA, I visited the HQ of my new sponsor, Nike, in Oregon. When I was there I checked out some cool Michael Jordan memorabilia. He had mad hops and I couldn't help but wonder… how well would he have handled the 110m hurdles back when he was in his prime?