Aries Merritt
Personal information
Born (1985-07-24) July 24, 1985 (age 38)
Chicago, Illinois
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)[1]
Weight158 lb (72 kg)[1]
College teamTennessee Volunteers
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2012 London 110 m hurdles
World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Beijing 110 m hurdles
World Indoor Championships
Gold medal – first place 2012 Istanbul 60 m hurdles
World Junior Championships in Athletics
Gold medal – first place 2004 Grosseto 110 m hurdles
Updated on 28 August 2015.

Aries Merritt (born July 24, 1985) is an American track and field athlete who specializes in the 110 metre hurdles, and currently holds the world record in that event with a time of 12.80 s set on September 7, 2012.[2][3] He won the gold medal in the 110 metre hurdles at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.


Born in Chicago, Illinois, he moved to Marietta, Georgia at a young age, attending Joseph Wheeler High School, where he was teammates with Reggie Witherspoon. Merritt ran for the University of Tennessee from 2003 to 2006 and had a successful college career, a seven-time All-American. He took the 110 meter hurdles gold at the 2004 World Junior Championships and finished sixth at the 2006 World Athletics Final. Also in 2006, he won the NCAA Championships, Indoors and Outdoors and was undefeated in all hurdles events that year. He broke Willie Gault's Tennessee Volunteers hurdles record. His victory at the NCAA Championships in 13.21 s was the second fastest ever collegiate time in the United States, behind only Renaldo Nehemiah. He reached the World Athletics Final in 2008, finishing in fourth. Merritt is the first hurdler to ever win gold in the US Indoor Championship, the World Indoor Championship (Istanbul, Turkey), the US Olympic Trials, and the Olympic Games all in the same year.

Professional athletics career


In the final of the 110m hurdles at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Merritt was initially classified 6th, with a time of 13.67 s. After Dayron Robles was disqualified, Merritt was promoted to 5th. His season's best was 13.12 s, achieved in Eugene, Oregon and Oslo.


Merritt began the 2012 campaign by altering his approach to the first hurdle, switching from eight to seven steps.[4] In an interview he stated, "[it] was pretty risky to make a change like that, but something had to be done if I was going to compete with (Liu Xiang of China and Dayron Robles of Cuba). The change allows me to maintain my momentum going into the first barrier." Merrit's change was highly successful for the 2012 indoor season as he became the indoor world champion in the 60 meters hurdles at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. In the final, he beat Liu Xiang and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde with a time of 7.44 s.

2012 Summer Olympics

See also: Athletics at the 2012 Summer Olympics

At the Olympic trials in Oregon, Merritt won the 110 meter hurdles final in a world leading time of 12.93 s,[5] making the Olympic team for the first time. Merritt subsequently matched the time at two consecutive Diamond League events, at Crystal Palace and Monaco, winning both races.

At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Merritt began by running the fastest qualifying time in the heats with a time of 13.07 s. In the semi-finals, he was again dominant with a time of 12.94 s. In the final, Dayron Robles and Merritt got the fastest starts but Merritt pulled ahead at hurdle 3. He continued to a personal best of 12.92 s and a 0.12 s win over reigning world champion Jason Richardson.[6][7]

World record

On September 7, 2012, at the final Diamond League meet (Memorial Van Damme) in Brussels, Belgium, Merritt ran a time of 12.80 s in the 110 meter hurdles, shattering the old world record of 12.87 s held by Dayron Robles. Merritt's performance was the largest drop in the world record for 110 meter hurdles (0.07 s) since Nehemiah in 1981.[8] Merrit ran consistently throughout the 2012 season. The following are his times that lead-up to his world record performance in the 110 meter hurdles:

Meet Date Time
2012 U.S. Olympic Trials (final) June 30, 2012 12.93
Aviva London Grand Prix July 13, 2012 12.93
Herculis July 20, 2012 12.93
2012 Summer Olympics (final) August 8, 2012 12.92
Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix August 26, 2012 12.95
Internationales Stadionfest September 2, 2012 12.97
Belgacom Memorial Van Damme September 7, 2012 12.80 World Record


Merritt finished 6th at the World Championships. After the competition, he felt very ill and was diagnosed with collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a rare congenital kidney disease,[9] aggravated by a parvovirus that had attacked his kidneys and bone marrow.[10] After several months of medical treatment, he was eventually able to return to competition on the following year, albeit far from his previous registers.[11]


Merrit's recovery from his kidney problems was enough to allow him to finish third in the USATF Outdoor Championships in June, obtaining a place for the World Championship.[12] On 28 August he won the bronze medal in the 110m hurdles, just four days before undergoing a scheduled kidney transplant.[11][13]


He won the 2017 IAAF Diamond League 110m hurdles in Rome on June 8, 2017

Personal bests

Event Best Location Date Note(s)
55 meters hurdles 7.10 s Gainesville, Florida, United States January 21, 2006
60 meters hurdles 7.43 s Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States February 26, 2012
110 meters hurdles 12.80 s Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2012 WR
200 meters 21.46 s Bloomington, Indiana, United States January 7, 2006
400 meters hurdles 51.94 s Knoxville, Tennessee, United States April 9, 2004

International competition record

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  United States
2004 World Junior Championships Grosseto, Italy 1st 110 m hurdles 13.56 (wind: -0.6 m/s)
2009 World Championships Berlin, Germany 27th (h) 13.70
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 5th 13.67
2012 World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 1st 60 m hurdles 7.44
Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 110 m hurdles 12.92
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 6th 13.31
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 3rd 13.04
2017 World Championships London, United Kingdom 5th 13.31
2018 World Indoor Championships Birmingham, United Kingdom 4th 60 m hurdles 7.56


  1. ^ a b "Aries Merritt". USOC. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  2. ^ "Aries MERRITT | Profile | World Athletics".
  3. ^ "110m Hurdles Men". Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  4. ^ "Aries Merritt's risky change helps him step into Olympics". USA Today. July 23, 2012.
  5. ^ Video on YouTube
  6. ^ Long, Mark (August 8, 2012). "Aries Merritt Wins 110-Meter Hurdles Gold, Jason Richardson Takes Silver". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  7. ^ "Aries Merritt claims 110m hurdles Olympic gold". Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  8. ^ "Aries Merritt: Greatest of All-Time | 2012 Brussels Diamond League: Memorial van Damme | Flotrack". Archived from the original on December 25, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Clarey, Christopher (August 28, 2015). "Days Before Kidney Transplant, Aries Merritt Wins Bronze in Hurdles". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  10. ^ Rosen, Karen (May 4, 2016). "After Kidney Transplant, Olympic Champion Aries Merritt Has Heart Set On Rio Gold". United States Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Mulkeen, John (August 20, 2015). "Merritt is on the road to recovery after life threatening illness".
  12. ^ "USA Track & Field - Results - FULL". Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  13. ^ Graham, Pat (August 26, 2015). "Right after world championships, American hurdler Aries Merritt will undergo kidney transplant". Daily Reporter. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
Records Preceded byDayron Robles Men's 110 m hurdles world record holder September 7, 2012 – present Succeeded byIncumbent