Track & FieldNewsGrant Holloway

Grant Holloway Storms to Third Consecutive 110-Meter Hurdles World Title, Continuing Rich U.S. Legacy

by Brian Pinelli

Grant Holloway competes during the men's 110-meter hurdles finals at the 2023 World Athletics Championships on Aug. 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.

Call it a three-peat. A trifecta of hurdle victories. Three-in-a-row for the ‘King’ of the 110-meter hurdles.

Grant Holloway celebrated his third successive 110-meter hurdles world title demonstratively, flashing three fingers to the cameras considerably more than three times. The 25-year-old, world No. 1 ranked hurdler from Chesapeake, Virginia, blazed to victory on a steamy night at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

“Third world title – back-to-back-to-back,” Holloway said, after the blistering performance. “I won my first one in Doha four years ago winning as a 21-year-old, and I’m winning my third one in Budapest now. And Eugene at home was just special.”

Holloway made it look relatively easy, exploding out the blocks faster than anyone in the eight-man field and clocking a season-best of 12.96 seconds. He won the race by 0.09 seconds over Jamaican rival Hansle Parchment. The multi-talented Florida Gator star turned the tables on Parchment, who stole Olympic gold from him in dramatic fashion over the final meters at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

He said it may have looked easy, but it certainly wasn’t. His celebration full of double fist pumps was off the charts.

“That was just raw pure, untamed emotion, you don’t really plan out those type of celebrations because there is no such thing as an easy medal when you come to these major championships,” Holloway said.

“My main thing was to continue to put myself in a different outlier, so when everybody lines up, they have in their heads that they’re competing for second,” he said. “To have another sub-13 second victory makes this one a little bit better.”

Holloway’s U.S. teammate, Daniel Roberts, charged to the bronze medal in a time of 13.09, while the third American to qualify for the final, Freddie Crittenden, was fourth, just .07 seconds out of the medals.

Roberts even looked fast, getting the job done in bright pink spikes.

“I got my first major medal so now I can go and get some more in the years ahead,” Roberts said. “Honestly, it wasn’t my best race overall – there were a couple of hurdles that I floated on. I wanted gold, but to get a bronze medal at the end of the day, I’ll take that.” 

“We were capable of the sweep, obviously we came up just a little bit short,” Holloway said.

“Grant’s my brother – I love to see him doing his thing, and be so consistent it motivates me to work even harder to try and pass him,” Roberts said.

Holloway equaled Greg Foster’s three consecutive 110-meter hurdle world titles achieved between 1983 and 1991, at the first three editions of the world championships.

United States high hurdlers have now won 12 world titles over 19 editions of the world championships for an astounding 63-percent winning percentage.

Expectations have always been high for U.S. high hurdlers. The long list of prolific talent includes Greg Foster, Renaldo ‘Skeets’ Nehemiah, Roger Kingdom, Allen Johnson, David Oliver, Aries Merritt and for those a bit more nostalgic Rod Milburn, Willie Davenport, Lee Calhoun and Harrison Dillard.

Grant Holloway celebrates after winning his third straight men's 110-meter hurdles title at the 2023 World Athletics Championships on Aug. 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.

If there was any doubt, Holloway cemented his legacy among the American pantheon of hurdling greats with his stellar performance at the National Athletics Centre on Day 3 of the championships.

“My idol growing up was David Oliver – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it one more time, in muy list of all-time it’s Allen Johnson, Aries, and then me. I want to keep working my way up the totem pole.”

While Holloway and Foster have each strung together three world titles in the event, it is Johnson who still leads with the most total victories, having amassed four between 1995 and 2003.

Holloway addressed the epic past of U.S. high hurdling success, while noting a few bumps on the track.

“It just shows that we have the talent pool and can produce,” Holloway said. “When I first came into the sport we were in a draught and it was my goal to get us out and I called it the restoration phase.”

Roberts is coached by Allen Johnson. The three-time U.S. champion also addressed the longstanding U.S. tradition and numerous accomplishments in the event.

“Just the fact that we have this rich history – my coach is one of the best hurdlers to ever run,” Roberts said. “Just seeing that motivates us young cats coming up to represent U.S. hurdling and do even better things, as Grant is doing right now.”

“I looked up to Aries Merritt for sure, he is from the same area of Georgia as me and obviously Johnson as my coach is someone I look up to and trust, giving me a lot of wisdom.”

Team USA nearly qualified four athletes for the 9:45 p.m. final; however, Cordell Tinch came up .06 seconds short in heat two of the semifinals. Holloway easily punched his ticket to the final about 90 minutes earlier, with a leading qualifying time of 13.02, indicative of good things to come. It was also the second fastest time of the evening, just another sign of Holloway’s superiority in the event.

Hollloway was a major favorite in the men’s high hurdles at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He entered the competition with the only sub-13 second time in 2021 and had won the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials with a time of 12.81 seconds, just off the world record.

In the final on a hot Tokyo morning, Holloway took off, leading through six hurdles. He then had two overly high clearances and was suddenly challenged by the Jamaican Parchment, who was on nobody’s radar coming in. Holloway led after nine hurdles, but Parchment had a perfect clearance over the final hurdle and outleaned the American to snatch the gold medal.

“You can never count out Parchment, as you know what he did at the Olympic Games,” Holloway said.

“He’s a great competitor and I’m looking forward to all of the great competitions that we will have, and now with Daniel, too.

“I’m really excited for next year, but I’m going to enjoy this tonight in Budapest,” he said. “When we get to the outdoor phase next year, I’ll write down my goals and challenge myself and my team to fulfill those goals and then make it happen.”