Two firsts for the men’s 110 meter hurdles occurred Tuesday night. Jamaica won its first gold medal, and the U.S. failed to medal.
Omar McLeod ran an extremely clean race and took gold with a time of 13.05 seconds, more than a tenth of a second better than silver medalist Orlando Ortega of Spain (13.17s). While Jamaica has a proud sprinting history, including the likes of current 100 meter champions Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson, the hurdles (specifically the 110 hurdles) have been a different matter.
Ortega, who was born in Cuba and cleared to represent Spain less than two weeks ago, is that nation’s first Olympic medalist in the 110 hurdles. Taking bronze was France’s Dimitri Bascou, who finished the race in 13.24 seconds and is his nation’s first medalist in the event since Guy Drut took gold in Montreal in 1976.
As for the Americans, for the first time in the history of the 110 hurdles at the Olympics they failed to get an athlete onto the medal stand (with the exception of their boycott of the 1980 Games in Moscow). Devon Allen, who will return to Oregon where he’ll play wide receiver for the football team this season, finished fifth with a time of 13.31 seconds.
Ronnie Ash, who lost his balance and did a forward roll through the finish line, was disqualified for leaving his lane.