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Jamaica's Hansle Parchment shocks Grant Holloway at the finish in 110m hurdles

·Yahoo Sports Columnist
·4-min read
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TOKYO — Jamaican hurdler Hansle Parchment nabbed a huge upset to best Team USA's Grant Holloway in the men's 110-meter hurdles final. Holloway (13.09 seconds) led most of the race until Parchment pulled ahead after the final hurdle to win gold at 13.04 seconds. 

Holloway took home silver while American Devon Allen just missed the podium, coming in fourth at 13.14. Ronald Levy of Jamaica won bronze with a time of 13.10.

Holloway, who is known for his incredibly fast start out of the blocks and to the initial hurdle, had a clear lead after three hurdles, and maintained it through the next five. But he appeared to lose his form a bit between hurdles 8 and 9, which affected his steps between hurdles 9 and 10.

Parchment, focused on running the cleanest race he could, came off the last barrier and outran Holloway to the finish.

"I had a lot of fun competing against Grant. It was a great opportunity to get three rounds with him [the two also ran in the same opening heat and semifinal], I got to see his crazy start," Parchment said. "Sometimes it looks like he's already at the third hurdle when I'm just at number one. I went back and thought about my start, what I needed to do, and I told myself if I can get a little bit closer in the first half, I can catch him toward the end. 

"And I did just that. I maintained my composure and I ran through the line."

The 31-year-old has had success on the global stage before, but it's been a while: he was the 2012 London Olympics bronze medalist, and the 2015 World Championships silver medalist. But the last several years he's been derailed by injuries — including this year.

"Injuries after injuries after injuries. I would have been out [at meets] earlier this year, but I had a stress fracture. I had to be doing a lot of swimming to keep my strength up, and I think that worked out pretty well," he said. "I started out really slowly but I kept on working, kept on believing in myself, and you know I told myself I'm just gonna come out and have some fun and I'm gonna go for the top."

Holloway came into Tokyo as the favorite, especially after running 12.81 seconds in the semifinals at the U.S. Trials, just 0.01 off the world record.

"First loss of the season always sucks, but to have it at the Olympic games, it sucks a little bit more," he said. "The nerves got the best of me, I got a little bit excited toward the end of the race, my form kind of broke down but with that being said I was able to get the silver.

"I'm happy with the silver but not satisfied."

Already the 2019 World Champion and indoor 60-meter hurdles world record holder, Holloway had an incredible career at the University of Florida, winning the NCAA 60m indoor and 110m outdoor hurdles in each of his three years, also contributing points in long jump and as a member of the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. He turned pro after his junior season. 

Best of Tokyo 2020 Day 13 slideshow embed
Best of Tokyo 2020 Day 13 slideshow embed

Now 26 years old, this was Allen's second Games, having won the 2016 U.S. Trials; he finished fifth in Rio. A former receiver at Oregon, he opted to turn pro in track and field after his Olympic experience.

When Rio Games gold medalist Omar McLeod was left off Jamaica's team, the path for Holloway seemingly got that much easier. McLeod hit the first hurdle in the finals at his country's Olympic Trials and finished last, but he said he was not at his physical best due to the unusual scheduling; the semifinals had been the night before, the final run in the morning, and he had a "severe cramp."

The Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association could have selected McLeod, who has Olympic and World Championship golds and the second-fastest time in the world this year, for its team but despite his appeals it kept him off. The decision seemed to work out fine, with Parchment shocking the world on Thursday.

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