This year’s IAAF World Championships of Track & Field saw American Jason Richardson win Gold in the 110 meter hurdles with the event’s favored, American Record Holder David Oliver, missing the medal stand. “I personally wouldn’t have felt great about getting a bronze with that kind of performance from a personal standpoint,” candidly reveals Oliver who finished fourth behind Richardson, China’s Liu Xiang, and Great Britain’s Andy Turner after world recorder holder Dayron Robles of Cuba was disqualified. “It was a crazy race. It’s unfortunate an incident had to go down like that, seeing that an incident like that happens in ninety percent of every single hurdle race; for it to be in the spotlight like that, negatively, it’s not a good look,” states Oliver.
Coming off a 2010 undefeated, record setting season, Oliver reveals that injury hampered his performances in the latter part of the season. “Just having a stress reaction in my pelvis. With that being my power leg, my lead leg, it was lot more difficult just to get out of the blocks, getting my speed up and my rhythm,” explains Oliver who made no public mention of it during the season while “competing like a professional would and [took] the lumps as they came.”
Prior to the season ending lumps, Oliver saw triumphs earlier in late June capturing the US National title in Eugene, OR. “Winning the American championships in the [110m] hurdles is incredibly difficult. We got the most talented athletes; you figure you run a time like 13.16 which was good enough to win the gold at the Worlds’ this year and you got fourth place at the Championships and didn’t even get to make it to the team,” informs the 2008 Olympian who knows repeating the task of making the US Team for London 2012 will be no easier. “We always have a great crop of guys since the dawn of time, going in there and competing in the hurdles, that hasn’t changed this year, won’t change next year or in the future. We always got the most talented hurdlers in the world as a country in the United States, it’s very hard to represent us in that event.”
Two former Team USA members, sprinters LeShawn Merritt and Justin Gatlin, who trains in Oliver’s camp in Orlando, FL, will have to wait for the ruling from the International Olympic Committee later this month as to their eligibility for the opportunity to represent the USA at the 2012 Summer Games as the British Olympic Association is currently seeking to have its lifetime ban for athletes convicted of doping upheld in court.
“Once you’ve done some sort of crime, and you’ve paid the punishment for it, I believe then you should have all the things lifted for your performances [and then] you should be able to go in there and represent,” states Oliver who “can understand both sides of the story and situation of course. From a personal standpoint, I think that’s what holds track and field back. We keep dwelling on the same stuff from five, six, seven years ago, it’s unfortunate.”
Also holding back the sport is the lack of head-to-head meetings by the sport’s stars due to untimely injury and scheduling conflicts. “I was hoping that [Yohan Blake] and Usain [Bolt] would have locked-up in the 100 or the 200 at the closing event for the season but it didn’t happen,” a disappointed Oliver who considers himself as much a fan as a competitor in the sport. “I am definitely a fan of great race performances and watching the way [Blake] had ran. It was amazing… come next year in the 200 when you figure Tyson Gay will be back to his best, Wallace Spearmon will be back to his best. And you get, Bolt, [Walter] Dix and Blake in there, man those guys are going to be rolling out! ”
Of course, Oliver himself plans to “roll-out” to Eugene, OR for the 2012 USA Outdoor Championships in June once again for the opportunity to represent Team USA in the Games of the XXX Olympiad. “Next year I plan on doing everything to make sure every muscle is as strong as it needs to be to undertake the stress that I need for it to go out there and repeat the same kind of performances from 2010. And I most definitely plan on being on top of that podium in 2012.”