For Aries Merritt, 12.93 was the magic number for much of the summer. He ran the 110 hurdles in 12.93 seconds three times in June in July. In August he ran 12.94 in the Olympic semifinal and a victorious 12.92 in the final, giving him a 12.93 average on the day.
Although the American had never broken the 13-second barrier prior to 2012, he became a bit frustrated that he was stuck above the 12.90 mark this year. He set his sights on Dayron Robles' 12.87-second world record following the Olympics, but apparently tried to hard, leading to a false start in the Lausanne Diamond League meet. Merritt then relaxed a bit and wasn't thinking about breaking the mark at the Diamond League final in Brussels on Sept. 7. The mellower attitude paid off as Merritt, who'd set a long-term goal of running 12.85, exceeding his expectations by winning the Brussels race in a world record 12.80 seconds.
"When I first saw 12.81 come up, I just thought, 'What? What is this?' I was in complete shock," said Merritt after the race. "I just couldn't believe that 12.81 popped up on the board. And then they rounded it to 12.80, and I just started screaming. I was just in complete shock. I just couldn't believe that I ran that fast."
To read more about Merritt's previous accomplishments at the London Olympics in August, check out a recap of the Olympic hurdles and relay events, as well as the 2012 Olympic jumps and throws competition.