The men’s 110m hurdles is so often the curtain call event of the Shanghai Diamond League – the latest edition of which takes place today. With that in mind, here are five unforgettable men’s sprint hurdles races over the previous nine years of IAAF Diamond League history.
David Oliver – 12.89
The men’s 110m hurdles in the inaugural IAAF Diamond League season was the David Oliver show. The big-shouldered US sprint hurdler blasted to six wins out of six on the IAAF Diamond League circuit and after equalling the US record of 12.90 in Eugene, a little under two weeks later in Paris he set a US record of 12.89 to climb to third (now fourth) on the world all-time list.
Liu Xiang – 12.87 (wind-aided)
In his final season, 2004 Olympic champion Liu Xiang rolled back the years in Eugene to destroy a world-class field in a wind-aided 12.87.
The performance was 0.01 quicker than his legal PB and many believed he could be set for a perfect send off at the London Olympics that year. Unfortunately, an achilles injury – just like in Beijing 2008 – denied him in the heats and he made an emotional exit from the sport.
Aries Merritt – 12.80
Aries Merritt produced a piece of hurdling perfection to obliterate the previous world record mark of Cuban Dayron Robles by 0.07. Merritt may have finished runner-up behind Liu Xiang in Eugene earlier that season (see above), but from that point on the US hurdler was the boss, winning every remaining 110m hurdles race he completed that season including the Olympic title in London in a PB of 12.92. Yet few could have quite predicted his awe-inspiring final race of the season in Brussels; least of all Merritt himself.
“I can’t believe I ran that fast – I’m in shock,” he said in the aftermath of setting the stunning world record mark.
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde – 12.95
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde became the 17th man in history to crack the 13-second barrier with an exhilarating performance to also take out the French record.
Enjoying a breakout season in 2014, his display in Monaco to defeat Orlando Ortega in 12.95 was his finest yet. The performance triggered a wide-armed celebration of unbridled joy. Some five years on, it remains PML’s fastest mark.
Omar McLeod – 12.98
After finishing a disappointing sixth at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, Omar McLeod returned for the 2016 campaign with a point to prove.
He opened his IAAF Diamond League season with an impressive 13.05 victory in Doha before blitzing to a 12.98 clocking to triumph in Shanghai. Later that year the stylish Jamaican delivered on his promise by securing the Olympic title in Rio. His time in Shanghai remains his swiftest IAAF Diamond League mark.
Steve Landells for the IAAF