110 metres hurdles
|Men||Aries Merritt 12.80 (2012)|
|Men||Liu Xiang 12.91 (2004)|
|World Championship records|
|Men||Colin Jackson 12.91 (1993)|
The 110 metres hurdles, or 110-metre hurdles, is a hurdling track and field event for men. It is included in the athletics programme at the Summer Olympic Games. The female counterpart is the 100 metres hurdles. As part of a racing event, ten hurdles of 42 inches (106.7 cm) in height are evenly spaced along a straight course of 110 metres. They are positioned so that they will fall over if bumped into by the runner. Fallen hurdles do not carry a fixed time penalty for the runners, but they have a significant pull-over weight which slows down the run. Like the 100 metres sprint, the 110 metres hurdles begins in the starting blocks.
For the 110 m hurdles, the first hurdle is placed after a run-up of 13.72 metres (45 ft) from the starting line. The next nine hurdles are set at a distance of 9.14 metres (30 ft) from each other, and the home stretch from the last hurdle to the finish line is 14.02 metres (46 ft) long.
The Olympic Games have included the 110 metre hurdles in their program since 1896. The equivalent hurdles race for women was run over a course of 80 metres from 1932 to 1968. Starting with the 1972 Summer Olympics, the women's race was set at 100 metres. In the early 20th century, the race was often contested as 120 yard hurdles, thus the imperial units distances between hurdles.
The fastest 110 metre hurdlers run the distance in around 13 seconds. Aries Merritt of the United States holds the current world record of 12.80 seconds, set at the Memorial Van Damme meet on 7 September 2012 in Belgium.
For the first hurdles races in England around 1830, wooden barriers were placed along a stretch of 100 yards (91.44 m).
The first standards were attempted in 1864 in Oxford and Cambridge: The length of the course was set to 120 yards (109.7 m) and over its course, runners were required to clear ten 42 inches (106.7 cm) high hurdles; the height and spacing of the hurdles have been related to Imperial units ever since. After the length of the course was rounded up to 110 metres in France in 1888, the standardisation was essentially complete, except that in Germany, 1 metre high hurdles were used until 1907.
The massively constructed hurdles of the early days were first replaced in 1895 with somewhat lighter T-shaped hurdles that runners were able to knock over.
However, until 1935, runners were disqualified if they knocked down more than three hurdles, and records were only recognized if the runner had left all hurdles standing.
In 1935, the T-shaped hurdles were replaced by L-shaped ones that easily fall forward if bumped into and therefore reduce the risk of injury. However, these hurdles are weighted, so it is disadvantageous to hit them.
The current running style where the first hurdle is taken on the run with the upper body lowered instead of being jumped over and with three steps each between the hurdles was first used by the 1900 Olympic champion, Alvin Kraenzlein. The 110 metre hurdles have been an Olympic discipline since 1896.
Women ran the event occasionally in the 1920s, but it never became generally accepted.
From 1926 to 1968, women competed in the 80 metre hurdles, which was increased to 100 metres starting in 1961 on a trial basis, and was officially implemented in competition in 1969.
Currently, women run the 110 metre distance at the World Athletics Relays shuttle hurdle relay, which features two men and two women participating together. The event debuted at the 2019 event.
In 1900 and 1904, the Olympics also included a 200-metre hurdles event, and the IAAF recognized world records for the 200 metre hurdles until 1960. Don Styron held the world record in the event for over 50 years, until Andy Turner broke the record in a specially arranged race at the Manchester City Games in 2010: Styron still holds the world record in the 220 yard low hurdles as of 2021.
The sprint hurdles are a very rhythmic race because both men and women take 3 steps (meaning 4 foot strikes) between each hurdle, no matter whether running 110/100 metres outdoors, or the shorter distances indoors (55 or 60 metres). In addition, the distance from the starting line to the first hurdle – while shorter for women – is constant for both sexes whether indoors or outdoors, so sprint hurdlers do not need to change their stride pattern between indoor and outdoor seasons. One difference between indoor and outdoors is the shorter finishing distance from the last (5th) hurdle indoors, compared to longer distance from the last (10th) hurdle outdoors to the finish line.
Top male hurdlers traditionally took 8 strides from the starting blocks to the first hurdle (indoors and outdoors). The 8-step start persisted from (at least) the 1950s to the end of the 20th century and included such World- and Olympic champions as Harrison Dillard, Rod Milburn, Greg Foster, Renaldo Nehemiah, Roger Kingdom, Allen Johnson, Mark Crear, Mark McCoy, and Colin Jackson. However, beginning in the 2000s, some hurdle coaches embraced a transition to a faster 7-step start, teaching the men to lengthen their first few strides out of the starting blocks. Cuban hurdler Dayron Robles set his 2008 world record of 12.87 using a 7-step start. Chinese star Liu Xiang won the 2004 Olympics and broke the world record in 2006 utilizing an 8-step approach, but he switched to 7-steps by the 2011 outdoor season. After the 2010 outdoor season, American Jason Richardson trained to switch to a 7-step start and went on to win the 2011 World Championship. American Aries Merritt trained in Fall 2011 to switch from 8 to 7, and then had his greatest outdoor season in 2012 – running 8 races in under 13 seconds – capped by winning the London 2012 Olympics and then setting a world record of 12.80.
Of the 10 men with the fastest 110m hurdle times in 2012, seven used 7-steps, including the top 4: Aries Merritt, Liu Xiang, Jason Richardson, and David Oliver. Hurdle technique experts believe the off-season training required to produce the power and speed necessary to reach the first hurdle in 7 steps, yields greater endurance over the last half of the race. That added endurance allows hurdlers to maintain their top speed to the finish, resulting in a faster time.
In American high school track and field and at many international Under-20 athletics competitions, the 110 metres hurdles are mostly the same as their professional counterparts. The main difference between the high school hurdles and college-level/ professional hurdles is the height. High school hurdles are 39 inches (99.1 cm) inches high while college height hurdles are 42 inches (106.7 cm) tall. This change in height drastically changes the requirements placed on the hurdler to clear the barrier with the same amount of speed. High school hurdling technique is the same as professional except on the higher hurdles everything is exaggerated. As a high schooler makes the transition from the 39's to the 42's there are many things they must adjust to, the most prevailing issue is getting down after clearing the hurdle. 39-inch hurdlers are used to the normal sprinting motion right after they get off the hurdle but for a newly transitioned 42-inch hurdler that extra half a second can feel very foreign. The second major difference in technique between 39's and 42's is the take-off distance. When a high school hurdler approaches his first hurdle they are putting as much power into each step as possible and attempting to gain all the speed they can so by their eighth step they'll be about six inches away from the hurdle. When attempting to clear a 42-inch hurdle the athlete can no longer run headfirst into the hurdle with disregard for the height of the hurdle. The newly made college hurdler needs to learn how to shorten their strides so they can take off the ground from farther away to clear a 42-inch barrier.
Both before and after this change of technique world class hurdler, Aries Merritt was an elite level hurdler, at the peak of his high school career Aries Merritt achieved a still standing Wheeler High school record of 13.91 seconds. Almost all top level American hurdlers started their careers in high school including Roger Kingdom at Vienna high school and many more.
The world record in the 110m hurdles at the 39-inch height is 12.72 by Sasha Zhoya, achieved at the 2021 World Athletics U20 Championships – Men's 110 metres hurdles in Nairobi, Kenya on 21 August 2021.
Further information: Men's 110 metres hurdles world record progression
|Ath.#||Perf.#||Time (s)||Wind (m/s)||Reaction (s)||Athlete||Nation||Date||Place||Ref.|
|1||1||12.80||+0.3||0.145||Aries Merritt||United States||07 September 2012||Brussels|||
|2||2||12.81||+1.8||0.169||Grant Holloway||United States||26 June 2021||Eugene|||
|3||3||12.84||+1.6||0.128||Devon Allen||United States||12 June 2022||New York City|||
|4||4||12.87||+0.9||Dayron Robles||Cuba||12 June 2008||Ostrava|
|5||5||12.88||+1.1||Liu Xiang||China||11 July 2006||Lausanne|
|5||12.88||+0.5||Robles #2||18 July 2008||Saint-Denis|
|6||7||12.89||+0.5||0.161||David Oliver||United States||16 July 2010||Saint-Denis|||
|7||8||12.90||+1.1||Dominique Arnold||United States||11 July 2006||Lausanne|
|8||12.90||+1.6||0.150||Oliver #2||03 July 2010||Eugene|||
|8||8||12.90||+0.7||Omar McLeod||Jamaica||24 June 2017||Kingston|||
|9||11||12.91||+0.5||0.122||Colin Jackson||Great Britain||20 August 1993||Stuttgart|||
|11||12.91||+0.3||0.139||Liu #2||27 August 2004||Athens|||
|+0.2||Robles #3||22 July 2008||Stockholm|
|10||14||12.92||−0.1||Roger Kingdom||United States||16 August 1989||Zürich|
|+0.9||Allen Johnson||United States||23 June 1996||Atlanta|
|14||12.92||+0.2||Johnson #2||23 August 1996||Brussels|
|+1.5||Liu #3||02 June 2007||New York City|
|±0.0||Robles #4||23 September 2007||Stuttgart|
|−0.3||0.143||Merritt #2||08 August 2012||London|||
|10||14||12.92||+0.6||0.169||Sergey Shubenkov||Russia||02 July 2018||Székesfehérvár|||
|13||21||12.93||−0.1||Renaldo Nehemiah||United States||19 August 1981||Zürich|
|21||12.93||±0.0||0.128||Johnson #3||07 August 1997||Athens|||
|−0.6||Liu #4||09 September 2006||Stuttgart|
|+0.1||0.183||Robles #5||21 August 2008||Beijing|||
|+1.7||Oliver #3||27 June 2010||Des Moines|
|−0.3||0.163||Oliver #4||19 August 2010||Zürich|||
|+1.2||0.151||Merritt #3||30 June 2012||Eugene|||
|+0.6||0.137||Merritt #4||13 July 2012||London|||
|±0.0||0.112||Merritt #5||20 July 2012||Monaco|||
|13||21||12.93||+0.9||0.168||Hansle Parchment||Jamaica||17 September 2023||Eugene|||
|15||12.94||+1.6||Jack Pierce||United States||22 June 1996||Atlanta|
|+0.5||Orlando Ortega||Cuba||04 July 2015||Saint-Denis|||
|+0.7||Rasheed Broadbell||Jamaica||09 July 2023||Kingston|||
|18||12.95||+1.5||Terrence Trammell||United States||02 June 2007||New York City|
|+0.3||Pascal Martinot-Lagarde||France||18 July 2014||Monaco|||
|20||12.96||+1.3||Cordell Tinch||United States||23 June 2023||Fayetteville|||
|21||12.97||+1.0||Ladji Doucouré||France||15 July 2005||Angers|
|22||12.98||+0.6||Mark Crear||United States||05 July 1999||Zagreb|
|+1.5||Jason Richardson||United States||30 June 2012||Eugene|
|24||12.99||+1.2||Ronnie Ash||United States||29 June 2014||Sacramento|||
|25||13.00||+0.5||Tony Jarrett||Great Britain||20 August 1993||Stuttgart|
|+0.6||Anier García||Cuba||25 September 2000||Sydney|
|+0.8||Daniel Roberts||United States||07 June 2019||Austin|||
|±0.0||Trey Cunningham||United States||10 June 2022||Eugene|||
|+0.3||Freddie Crittenden||United States||20 August 2022||Freeport|||
Any performance with a following wind of more than 2.0 metres per second does not count for record purposes. Below is a list of all wind-assisted times equal or superior to 12.94:
|1||United States (USA)||12||6||9||27|
|2||Great Britain (GBR)||2||4||3||9|
|–||Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANA)||0||2||0||2|
|Totals (13 entries)||19||19||20||58|
Athletes with two or more victories at the Olympic Games & World Championships:
|1904 St. Louis
|1932 Los Angeles
|1968 Mexico City
|1984 Los Angeles
|2016 Rio de Janeiro
||Greg Foster (USA)||Arto Bryggare (FIN)||Willie Gault (USA)|
||Greg Foster (USA)||Jon Ridgeon (GBR)||Colin Jackson (GBR)|
||Greg Foster (USA)||Jack Pierce (USA)||Tony Jarrett (GBR)|
||Colin Jackson (GBR)||Tony Jarrett (GBR)||Jack Pierce (USA)|
||Allen Johnson (USA)||Tony Jarrett (GBR)||Roger Kingdom (USA)|
||Allen Johnson (USA)||Colin Jackson (GBR)||Igor Kováč (SVK)|
||Colin Jackson (GBR)||Anier García (CUB)||Duane Ross (USA)|
||Allen Johnson (USA)||Anier García (CUB)||Dudley Dorival (HAI)|
||Allen Johnson (USA)||Terrence Trammell (USA)||Liu Xiang (CHN)|
||Ladji Doucouré (FRA)||Liu Xiang (CHN)||Allen Johnson (USA)|
||Liu Xiang (CHN)||Terrence Trammell (USA)||David Payne (USA)|
||Ryan Brathwaite (BAR)||Terrence Trammell (USA)||David Payne (USA)|
||Jason Richardson (USA)||Liu Xiang (CHN)||Andy Turner (GBR)|
||David Oliver (USA)||Ryan Wilson (USA)||Sergey Shubenkov (RUS)|
||Sergey Shubenkov (RUS)||Hansle Parchment (JAM)||Aries Merritt (USA)|
||Omar McLeod (JAM)||Sergey Shubenkov (ANA)||Balázs Baji (HUN)|
||Grant Holloway (USA)||Sergey Shubenkov (ANA)|| Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (FRA)|
Orlando Ortega (ESP)
||Grant Holloway (USA)||Trey Cunningham (USA)||Asier Martínez (ESP)|
||Grant Holloway (USA)||Hansle Parchment (JAM)||Daniel Roberts (USA)|
|1966||13.47||Willie Davenport (USA)||New York City|
|1967||13.43||Earl McCullouch (USA)||Minneapolis|
|1968||13.33 A||Willie Davenport (USA)||Mexico City|
|1969||13.45||Willie Davenport (USA)||Miami|
|Leon Coleman (USA)||Miami|
|1970||13.42||Thomas Hill (USA)||Bakersfield|
|1971||13.46 A||Rod Milburn (USA)||Cali|
|1972||13.24||Rod Milburn (USA)||Munich|
|1973||13.41||Rod Milburn (USA)||Zürich|
|1974||13.40||Guy Drut (FRA)||Rome|
|1975||13.28||Guy Drut (FRA)||Saint-Étienne|
|1976||13.30||Guy Drut (FRA)||Montreal|
|1977||13.21||Alejandro Casañas (CUB)||Sofia|
|1978||13.22||Greg Foster (USA)||Eugene|
|1979||13.00||Renaldo Nehemiah (USA)||Westwood|
|1980||13.21||Renaldo Nehemiah (USA)||Zürich|
|1981||12.93||Renaldo Nehemiah (USA)||Zürich|
|1982||13.22||Greg Foster (USA)||Koblenz|
|1983||13.11||Greg Foster (USA)||Westwood|
|1984||13.15||Greg Foster (USA)||Zürich|
|1985||13.14||Roger Kingdom (USA)||Modesto|
|1986||13.20||Stéphane Caristan (FRA)||Stuttgart|
|1987||13.17||Greg Foster (USA)||Lausanne|
|1988||12.97 A||Roger Kingdom (USA)||Sestriere|
|1989||12.92||Roger Kingdom (USA)||Zürich|
|1990||13.08||Colin Jackson (GBR)||Auckland|
|1991||13.05||Tony Dees (USA)||Vigo|
|1992||13.04||Colin Jackson (GBR)||Cologne|
|1993||12.91||Colin Jackson (GBR)||Stuttgart|
|1994||12.98||Colin Jackson (GBR)||Tokyo|
|1995||12.98||Allen Johnson (USA)||Cologne|
|1996||12.92||Allen Johnson (USA)||Atlanta|
|1997||12.93||Allen Johnson (USA)||Athens|
|1998||12.98||Allen Johnson (USA)||Zürich|
|1999||12.98||Mark Crear (USA)||Zagreb|
|2000||12.97||Allen Johnson (USA)||Sacramento|
|2001||13.04||Allen Johnson (USA)||Edmonton|
|2002||13.03||Anier García (CUB)||Lausanne|
|2003||12.97||Allen Johnson (USA)||Saint-Denis|
|2004||12.91||Liu Xiang (CHN)||Athens|
|2005||12.97||Ladji Doucouré (FRA)||Angers|
|2006||12.88||Liu Xiang (CHN)||Lausanne|
|2007||12.92||Liu Xiang (CHN)||New York City|
|Dayron Robles (CUB)||Stuttgart|
|2008||12.87||Dayron Robles (CUB)||Ostrava|
|2009||13.04||Dayron Robles (CUB)||Ostrava|
|2010||12.89||David Oliver (USA)||Saint-Denis|
|2011||12.94||David Oliver (USA)||Eugene|
|2012||12.80||Aries Merritt (USA)||Brussels|
|2013||13.00||David Oliver (USA)||Moscow|
|2014||12.94||Hansle Parchment (JAM)||Saint-Denis|
|2015||12.94||Orlando Ortega (CUB)||Saint-Denis|
|2016||12.98||Omar McLeod (JAM)||Shanghai|
|2017||12.90||Omar McLeod (JAM)||Kingston|
|2018||12.92||Sergey Shubenkov (RUS)||Székesfehérvár|
|2019||12.98||Grant Holloway (USA)||Austin|
|2020||13.11||Orlando Ortega (ESP)||Monaco|
|2021||12.81||Grant Holloway (USA)||Eugene|
|2022||12.84||Devon Allen (USA)||New York City|
|2023||12.93||Hansle Parchment (JAM)||Eugene|