TORONTO -- David Oliver’s first Pan American Games were far from calm.
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Oliver, racing in the 110-meter hurdles for Team USA, battled back after a rerun to win gold and smash the Pan Am record with a time of 13.07 seconds.
With the runners on the blocks, the gun sounded, then the officials called a false start. Canadian Johnathan Cabral and Oliver did not hear the second gun, signaling a false start, and sprinted full-out to the finish line.
“I just stay in my own lane,” said Oliver, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist. “I heard the gun go off. I was able to get out there and I just ran. I felt like something was going on, but I didn’t know what exactly.”
The rerun was then postponed half an hour to allow the runners to recover.
When Oliver returned the block, his focus had not faltered.
"I am used to doing repeat 110s at practice,” Oliver said, “so I said it would be like training and stayed focused. When they said we had to go again, I was like, 'Alright, let's just strap it up and let's get ready to rock!"
Hoping to break the 13-second mark, Oliver was still pleased with the result, given the circumstances.
“My legs did feel heavy in the final,” Oliver said. “I know I knocked down three, four hurdles. But you have to do what you have to do win.”
Oliver’s 13.07 was a tenth of a second better than silver medalist Mikel Thomas of Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados’ Shane Brathwaite finished in third with a time of 13.21.
"I targeted the Pan American Games record as a goal I wanted to achieve here,” Oliver said, “and I was glad I was able to achieve that goal. …
"Any time I get to represent my country is a major deal. At 33 years of age, I had turned down coming to the Pan Games a couple times in the past, and I was going to take advantage of it this time."