110m Hurdles: Liu Xiang Crashes In Round 1, Aries Merritt Leads All Qualifiers

For the second straight Olympics, China's track hero, Liu Xiang, failed to even finish his qualifying heat in the 110 meter hurdles, while the United States' Aries Merritt was the fastest qualifier by more than a tenth of a second.

Liu crashed into the first hurdle in his heat and crumpled to the track, eventually hopping off the track before other competitors helped him into a wheelchair. For the second straight Olympics, he failed to clear a single hurdle: Liu won the 2004 gold medal -- the first men's track and field medal in Chinese history, which managed to come in a premier event -- and at one point held the world record in the event, making him one of the faces for China's delegation at the 2008 games in Beijing. But he had to withdraw from the heats in 2008 due to an undisclosed Achilles injury. Again, he's suffered injury at an unfortunate time.

Merritt had a more successful run, finishing his heat in 13.07 seconds, .16 off his personal best and .14 faster than the closest competitor in any heat. With Liu out of the running, Merritt and Cuba's Dayron Robles are the two main competitors for gold. Two other Americans, Jeff Porter and Jason Richardson, qualified for semis.

The semifinals are Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. Eastern, followed by the finals two hours later.

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics hub.

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