110 metre hurdles

The 110 m hurdles are an Olympic track and field athletics discipline run by men. For the race ten hurdles of a height of 1.067 m (3½ feet) are placed evenly spaced along a straight course of 110 meters. They are positioned so that they will fall over if bumped into by the runner. Fallen hurdles do not count against runners so long as they do not run into them on purpose. Like the 100 meter sprint the 110 m hurdles is started out of the blocks. Sometimes, high school athletes run the 110 hurdles with 39 inch hurdles, instead of the normal 42 inch hurdles.

For the 110 m hurdles the first hurdle is placed after a runup of 15 yards (13.72 m) from the starting line. The next 9 hurdles are set at a distance of 10 yards (9.14 m) from each other, and the home stretch from the last hurdle to the finish line is 15 yd 1 ft (14.02 m) long.

The Olympic Games have included the 110 m hurdles in the program since 1896. The equivalent hurdles race for women was run over a course of 80 meters from 1932 through 1968. Starting with the 1972 Summer Olympics the women's race was lengthened to 100m Hurdles.

The fastest 110 m hurdlers run the distance in a time of around 13 seconds. The world record, held by Liu Xiang of China, stands at 12.88 seconds (as of July 2006) or the equivalent of 8.54 meters per second or 30.75 kilometers per hour. He had previously held the joint world record of 12.91 seconds with Colin Jackson of the UK.



For the first hurdles races in England around 1830, wooden barriers were placed along a stretch of 100 yards. The first standards were attempted in 1864 in Oxford and Cambridge: The length of the course was set to 120 yards (109.72 meters) and over its course runners were required to clear ten 3½ foot (1.067 m) high hurdles. After the length of hurdles races was rounded up to 110 meters in France from 1888 on, the standards were pretty much complete except for Germany where hurdles of 1 meter height 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 3 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.

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 m hurdles have been an Olympic discipline since 1896. Women ran it occasionally in the 1920 but it never became generally accepted. From 1926 on women have only run the 80 m hurdles which was increased to 100 meters first starting in 1961 on a trial basis and in 1969 in official competition.

In 1900 and 1904 the Olympics also included a 200 m hurdles race and the IAAF recognized world records for the 200 m hurdles until 1960.




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Source: Wikipedia