London 2012 hurdles preview: Women's 100-meter is the race to watch

London 2012 hurdles: The women's finals in the 100-meter hurdles are Tuesday. Americans Dawn Harper, Lolo Jones, and Kellie Wells all have a good shot at a medal. Their biggest competition is Aussie Sally Pearson.

Eric Gay/AP
London 2012 hurdles: From left to right, Americans Lolo Jones, Kellie Wells, and Dawn Harper celebrate after the women's 100-meter hurdles at the US Trials June 23. The three will compete in the women's 100-meter hurdles at the London Games Tuesday.
London 2012 hurdles Google Doodle featured on the search engine's page today.
Rich Clabaugh/Staff

Google users playing with today's doodle won't be the only ones trying to make it over the hurdles.

The finals of the women's 100-meter hurdles, one of the most anticipated races of these Olympic Games, will be at 4 p.m. EDT. Americans Dawn Harper, Lolo Jones, and Kellie Wells are expected to make the finals. Harper and Jones are favored to medal.

Jones, from Iowa, is the athlete everyone is watching. She's made a dramatic comeback since her disappointing stumble in Beijing, where she had been favored to win gold, but clipped a hurdle and fell back to seventh place. Since then, Jones has suffered injuries, and many thought it unlikely that she would even qualify for the London Games. She placed third at the US Olympic trials, behind Harper and Wells.

Harper, from Illinois, took up where Jones left off in 2008, winning the gold medal after Jones stumbled. Since then, Harper has made a comeback of her own. After undergoing her second knee surgery in 2011, she took the bronze medal at the world championships, and ran a personal best of 12.47 seconds. Harper won first place at the US Olympic trials.

Wells, from Virginia, is also a strong hurdler. She won the 2011 US outdoor championships with a personal best of 12.50, but early in 2012 she broke her arm. Wells was able to heal and bounced back, taking second at the US trials. This will be her first time competing at the Olympic Games.

After Jones stumbled at the Beijing Games and Harper took gold, Aussie Sally Pearson won the silver medal. Pearson hasn't looked back since. In 2009, she won five out of the seven races she ran, improving on her times. In 2010, Pearson finished first at the Commonwealth Games in India.

Then at the 2011 world championships where Harper took bronze, Pearson finished first with an stunning time of 12.28, the fourth-fastest time in the history of the women's 100-meter hurdles. Pearson has proved herself a powerhouse hurdler; she has had impressive times all year, and of her last 33 races prior to the London Games, she has lost only one.

In round one of the women's 100-meter hurdles the three Americans and the Aussie had some of the best times. Harper ran a 12.65, Jones ran a 12.68, Wells ran a 12.54, and Pearson ran a 12.40. The semifinals are Tuesday at 2:15 p.m, Eastern time.

The semifinals for the men's 110-meter hurdles are Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. and the finals are at 4:15 p.m. Americans Aries Merritt, Jeff Porter, and Jason Richardson will all compete.

Richardson and Merritt both have world titles to their names. Richardson won the gold at the 2011 world championships, and Merritt won gold in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2012 indoor championships. Porter may be more of a long-shot. He won his spot on the Olympic team after a dramatic head-first dive over the finish line at the US trials.

In other Olympic track and field news, the finals for the men's discus throw is also Tuesday at 2:45 p.m., and the men's 1500-meter race is at 4:15 p.m. American Matt Centrowitz, from Maryland, will run in the 1500-meters.

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