David Epstein: Merritt finds perfectionism pays off with gold in 110m hurdles

By Yo
for Riotboard.com

Published: August 8, 2012

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LONDON — Sprint hurdlers are like miniature figurine enthusiasts: obsessing over the minutia is part of the gig. So it’s no surprise that Aries Merritt found something wrong with his semifinal run of the 110-meter hurdles, which he did in 12.94 seconds, the fastest non-final ever. “There were little technical errors,” Merritt said as he walked beneath Olympic stadium. “A collision with someone.” The “collision” appeared to be little more than a brushing of arms between men who drifted to the side of their lanes. But when you paint figurines or run the high hurdles, you sweat the small stuff. And sweating the small stuff paid off in gold for Merritt on Wednesday night, when he ran 12.92 in the final for gold — the first for U.S. men on the track — ahead of American Jason Richardson (13.04). “I worked really hard for this moment, Merritt said, and yet it was another race he described as imperfect.
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