The US took Gold and Silver in the Men’s 110M Hurdles yesterday. Aries Merritt won the Gold. Merritt grew up in Marietta and led Wheeler High School to a State Championship before attending the University of Tennessee.
“I’ve worked so hard for this moment and who knows if I’ll ever get this chance again?” Merritt said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment and I’m just kind of living it. I’m the champion. It still hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m Olympic champion. I’m still in shock.”
He should have seen it coming.
Everyone else did, even his high school track coach about a dozen years ago.
At the end of Merritt’s freshman year at Wheeler High in Marietta, Ga., teammate and 2008 Olympian Reggie Witherspoon challenged him to jump a fence before practice. They didn’t think anyone was watching.
“It was just a random dare,” Merritt recalled. “We got there kind of early from class. He said, ‘I bet you won’t jump that fence.’ I was like, ‘I can jump that fence.’ He was like, ‘Nah, you ain’t jumping it. You ain’t jumping it.’ I was like, ‘All right.”
Merritt then ran up and cleared the fence, with his coach watching nearby.
“He was like, ‘You’re going to be a hurdler now,” Merritt recalled. “That’s pretty much how it started.”
Chaunte Lowe, a trigonometry teacher at Grayson High School, has made the Women’s High Jump finals to be held Satuday night.
Principal David Hopson plans a welcome back ceremony for Lowe on Monday at the school.
“If she could bring home the gold that would be great,” Hopson said. “It’s her quest, and it’s ours as well. We are living vicariously through her. She has all of our support, and we’re pulling for her.”
Hopson said before he hired Lowe he was unaware she would be competing in the games. “We hired her for her abilities as an educator,” he said. “When we learned she was going to be going to London for the Olympics, that was a bonus.”