Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Date Started: August 18, 2008
Date Finished: August 21, 2008
At the beginning of 2008, the favorite was the defending gold medalist, Chinaâs [Liu Xiang]. He had set the world record since 2004 and also won the 2007 World Championships. Liuâs event was highly anticipated by the Chinese, and prior to the Olympics, tickets for the 110 hurdles final were the most coveted in China. But early in 2008, Cubaâs [Dayron Robles] moved to the fore and had the best record of the year going into Beijing, including a world record of 12.87, set on 12 June in Ostrava, and breaking Liuâs mark. There were rumors that Liu was injured but information did not come out of the secretive Chinese camp, as Liu, with basketballer [Yao Ming], was the most popular athlete in China. In heat six of the first round, Liu lined up for the start and started at the gun, only to have a recall for the field false starting. He ran only a few steps but was in obvious discomfort. He turned towards the starting blocks, but kept going out the tunnel and withdrew with an injured foot tendon. The Chinese anguish in the stands was palpable. His withdrawal left the way open for Robles who won easily. In the final, he led at the first hurdle and pulled away to by 0.24 seconds. Americanâs [David Payne] and [David Oliver] came in for the other medals but never challenged Robles.