I had an interviewer recently ask me a question that I really could not answer, which is a first I must say. I was asked "Who is on my list of top five 110 hurdlers of all time?" I really didn't have an answer. I know who I feel are number one and two, but I felt like I needed to do more research and find out who I could fill my list out with.
After doing my history project, I decided that my top five list would consist of these five great individuals:
#5 Greg Foster
Foster was never one of the fastest hurdlers ever timewise, never held the World or American record, but his championship record is simply amazing. He won three consecutive World Championship titles during an era when they were held once ever four years, contrast that to today where we have them every two years. That's 12 years of dominance at the Championship level. He very well could have had six World titles if he ran under our current system. He also has an Olympic silver medal to his credit as well as 11 U.S.A. championship titles.
#4 Liu Xiang
Former World Record holder at 12.88 and 12.91 seconds. He won the 2004 Olympic gold medal in a equal world and Games record of 12.91 and won the 2007 World Championship title in a phenomenal performance, winning out of lane eight. He has run down other hurdlers running all-time great times of 12.90 (Arnold, Lausanne '06), 12.95 (Trammell, NY '07) and 12.99 (Trammell, WC '07), simply amazing. I don't think anyone has done that before. You know if he touches down over ten close to you, he will win. If he's able to return to form, he could easily ascend this list.
#3 Colin Jackson
He held the World Record of 12.91 solely from 1993 to 2004. He won four World Championship medals, two of them gold ('93 and '99) as well as an Olympic silver in 1988. In my opinon, Jackson's biggest accomplishment was he went 32 straight outdoor races without taking a loss! That is major. He also holds the world indoor record and is a legit flat sprinter. His career longevity is another reason he's high up on the list.
#2 Roger Kingdom
This is the one and only guy that I watch film on to try to better myself. I watch races of every hurdler, but to me, it never made sense to try to emulate an Allen Johnson or Terrance Trammell or Colin Jackson because I don't posses the same skill set or style as those guys, but in Kingdom, I have always seen a guy that reminded me of myself.
He's at the number two slot because these stats don't lie: Two time Olympic gold medalist ('84, '88), held the world record from '89-'93 and his name was listed as the American record holder either solely or jointly from '89 all the way until 2006! He also was the first man to run under 13 seconds at the Olympic Games. In 1988, he also had an undefeated season. Those two Olympic Gold medals is what puts him near the top for me. Winning the most important event of our sport twice is a feat that hadn't happened since Lee Calhoun 20 years prior and hasn't been seen since.
#1 Allen Johnson
I did a blog post on Allen when he announced his retirement back in July. I said it then and I'll say it again, he is the G.O.A.T. in my opinion. An Olympic gold medal, four World Championship gold medals, countless U.S.A titles, it goes on and on. He has the record for the most sub 13 performances with 11 as well. Although he never held the World Record like the previous four individuals he's listed ahead of, I think titles and wins are greater than a solo performance.
When I was trying to compile this list, I tried to get Dayron Robles and Renaldo Nehemiah on my list because they are greats as well. Nehemiah going to play in the NFL cut out his best years or he no doubt would have been in the top three easily I'm sure, I rank him number seven.
Robles is the current World Record holder and defending Olympic champion. He also is second on the list of sub-13 performances with eight. He accomplished all eight in a period from World Athletic Final in 2007 to Zurich in 2008. He only misses this list due to the fact that his career is essentially based off the 2008 season, which in my opinon is the greatest season in 110 hurdles history but Foster and Liu have displayed dominance over multitude of years. Once he displays the durability and longevity, he'll no doubt be on the list, right now he's holding down the number six spot.
I personally feel like I'm in the top 20 somewhere, of course I'm biased lol. I'll have to do some deep research to figure out for sure.
I think I will start a little top five segment on the blog regarding different aspects of the hurdles.
6 months ago