Days Before Kidney Transplant, Aries Merritt Wins Bronze in Hurdles

The New York Times | Christopher Clarey

Aries Merritt, right, was beaten at the wire by Russia's Sergey Shubenkov, left, and Jamaica's Hansle Parchment, center, but took the bronze in the 110-meter hurdles. Credit Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BEIJING — There are the hurdles on the track, all of which Aries Merritt cleared on Friday night on his way to a bronze medal at the world track and field championships.

But there are also the hurdles that life puts in your path, and Merritt will have to clear a high one on Tuesday, when he is scheduled to have a kidney transplant in the United States.

He said his older sister LaToya was the donor, and though other athletes, like the basketball stars Sean Elliott and Alonzo Mourning, have returned from such procedures to resume their professional careers, there are no guarantees that Merritt will be back competing at an elite level again.

“I’ve been operating for months now at under 20 percent kidney function, so just to make the final was just a blessing,” Merritt said after the 110-meter hurdles final Friday. “To be able to go out and execute and just be as mentally strong as I’ve been in these championships, I feel like my bronze medal is a gold medal, to be honest.” Continue reading.