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It's the absolute headline event of the Beijing Olympics - the men's 110-meter hurdles, with China's pinup star Liu Xiang in the starring role - but Cuba's Dayron Robles has made things oh-so-interesting by breaking Liu's world record today in Ostrava. Liu's outdoor season so far has been underwhelming, to say the least - a DNS in New York on May 31 followed by a DQ for false-starting at the Prefontaine in Eugene last weekend. That plus no plans to compete in Europe before the Olympics raises all kinds of eyebrows about what kind of fitness Liu Xiang will bring to the starting line in Beijing. Robles, the heir apparent to Liu in the event, has just raised the stakes a notch higher. This achievement puts that gold medal into play in Beijing - and makes the U.S. Olympic Trials at the end of this month even more crucial (the U.S. men have the deepest field by far in the event, but they haven't been able to compete with Liu effectively ever since Liu won surprise Olympic gold in 2004). No doubt it's only Chapter One in a fight that will go all the way to the Bird's Nest in August.

 

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