Aries Merritt at the pre-event press conference for the 2013 IAAF Diamond League in London (© Kirby Lee)
“I am counting the days till New Year’s Eve. Not because of any big party being planned, I just can’t wait to see 2014 appear on my calendar!
“Everything about 2012 went my way, but not so much for 2013. My injury and resulting lack of fitness caused inconsistency on the track at the World Championships in Moscow and in the IAAF Diamond League; and for much of the fall, I’ve been battling illness.
“But I’m already training hard, and you can be sure I will be out there on the track on the morning of January 1 as that calendar turns.
“All joking about luck aside, my move to a new training base here in Arizona has me fired up for the future, tolerating those painful long interval base-building workouts and interacting with a great group of training partners here in Phoenix.
“The World Athletics Center here has great facilities, top coaching and, of course, hurdler friendly weather to assist with the preparation of the sport’s top athletes.
“I’m not certain of my racing schedule yet. There’s lots of work to be done before I can declare myself race fit.
“I, of course, would like to defend my IAAF World Indoor Championship title in Sopot. I’ve never raced in Poland but my first time to Turkey was at the World Indoor Championships and this proved to be lucky so hoping for the same.
“With no World Championships or Olympic title at stake outdoors, I’m already looking forward to returning to some of my favorite Diamond League cities next summer.
“As track fans around the world gather with family and friends, I wish you Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. See you in 2014.
“Best wishes, Aries.”