The event takes place on the home straight of the Athletics track. Athletes must jump over 10 evenly-spaced hurdles in their lane, before sprinting for the finishing line. Hurdles are the highest for any of the events, at 1.067m. They are designed so that if an athlete hits one it falls forward.
The Hurdles races start with heats. The number of heats and the number of athletes who progress to the next round depends on the number of athletes competing. In each heat the best-placed athletes go through, as well as a set number of the fastest losers across all the heats.
The draw to determine which heat athletes run in is decided by their initial seedings (based on previous performance) for the first round, and then their performances after that. This ensures that the highest seeded athletes are not drawn in the same heat.
Athletes run the entire race in their lane, which is allocated according to lot for the first round, and then according to their subsequent performance.
Keys to success
The Hurdles races are sprints, so a good start is vital. Technique in clearing the hurdles is important in order to retain speed and momentum. An athlete’s stride pattern is crucial to ensure that he/she can take off with the preferred (leading) leg without losing pace. Clipping or knocking a hurdle can cause the stride pattern to be disrupted.
Breaking the rules
Although it is permissible to knock a hurdle, an athlete is disqualified if he/she misses a hurdle altogether.
Find out more about the Men's 110m Hurdles competition at the Olympic Games on the International Olympic Committee website.