Gold Medallist Aries Merritt’s Hurdle Coach Andreas Behm
110m Olympic Hurdles; USA Track & Field; Texas A&M
Andreas, 33, is one of elite Track & Field’s youngest coaches. He has been based at Texas A&M for the past eight years, five focusing on a post graduate group of athletes that includes Aries.
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Among the topics Andreas covers in the interview are quality versus quantity of training sessions, nutrition, rest, recovery and alternative approaches to rehabilitation and therapy, including acupuncture. These are critical issues for an athlete like Aries with quite a history of injury: “Left and right hamstring tears,” Aries told reporters before the Olympics. “Tore my quad. Torn ligaments in the ankle. Stress fracture in my foot. Blown out my knee. You name it, it has happened to me.”
In the interview, Andreas also provides a comprehensive explanation of what it takes to go from an eight-step approach to seven steps. Aries explains it as “like trying to write in cursive with your left hand if you are right-handed. “It is really difficult to make the switch.”
Aries was remarkably consistent throughout the 2012 season, posting numerous times under 13.0 seconds, culminating in 12.92 for gold in London, and smashing that about four weeks later, with a 12.80 on Sept. 7 in Brussels, breaking the record of 12.87 set by Cuban Dayron Robles in 2008.
The results put Aries in great company, with the legends of high hurdling: Renaldo Nehemiah, Roger Kingdom, Colin Jackson and Liu Xiang.
In addition to Aries, Behm has worked with sprinters Muna Lee, La’Shaunte’a Moore, and Ebonie Floyd, as well as hurdlers Jermaine Cooper, Lauren Smith and Chris Thomas.
Andreas grew up in Madrid, Spain and Frankfurt, Germany but did his university education in the U.S.; his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, and a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Texas.