INDIANAPOLIS – Aries Merritt (Bryan, Texas) has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after smashing the world record in the 110-meter hurdles at the Brussels Diamond League meet last Friday in a time of 12.80.
Merritt dominated a loaded field to better Cuba’s Dayron Robles previous world record of 12.87 ran in 2008. It was the biggest drop in the world record since Renaldo Nehemiah dropped .16 seconds off the mark in 1979.
“This is a dream season for anyone because I don’t think anyone has done this before,” Merritt said on a USATF media teleconference the evening after his performance. “I’m still pretty much in shock. I knew it was going to happen but I didn’t think it would be under 12.90.”
Merritt’s world record performance punctuated an outstanding year that saw him win Olympic gold and claim the top seven times run in the world this year. Merritt’s season ended with a winning streak of 13 races. For the 2012 season, Merritt won 17 of the 21 races he lined up for since January and his eight sub-13-second races were the most ever in a single season.
Now in its 11th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2012 Winners: January 5, Landon Peacock; January 11, Kirubel Erassa; January 18, Shalane Flanagan; January 26, John Nunn; February 1, Gunnar Nixon; February 8, Jenn Suhr; February 14, Jillian-Camarena Williams; February 22, Brycen Spratling; February 28, Chaunte Lowe; March 7, Eric Broadbent; March 14, Ashton Eaton; March 21, Jeanne Daprano; March 27, Wallace Spearmon; April 3, Trevor Barron; April 9, Kevin Castille; April 18, Brittney Reese; April 25, Amy Sproston; May 2, Leo Manzano; May 9, Stephanie Brown-Trafton; May 16, Allyson Felix; May 23, Nick Hartle; May 30, Kimberlyn Duncan; June 6, Jessica Cosby and Meghan Vogel; June 13, Jesse Williams; June 20, Shelby Ashe; June 27, Ashton Eaton; July 4, Allyson Felix; July 12, Christian Cantwell; July 18, Gunnar Nixon; July 25 Evan Jager; August 1, Denzel Harper; August 15, Allyson Felix; August 23, Reese Hoffa; August 29, Carmelita Jeter; September 5, Matt Tegenkamp; September 12, Aries Merritt