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2012 SUMMER OLYMPICS: Albany’s Taylor set for first round of qualifying in 400 hurdles today

Angelo Taylor is one gold medal away from being considered the greatest American hurdler in history if he can win his third gold in the 400-meter race in London.

Angelo Taylor is one gold medal away from being considered the greatest American hurdler in history if he can win his third gold in the 400-meter race in London.

LONDON — Angelo Taylor wants to finish his mission to become the greatest Olympic hurdler in history.

To do that, the Albany native first has to make sure he finishes his race.

It’s been a month since Taylor clipped the ninth hurdle in the U.S. Olympic Trials and nearly lost his dream of winning an unprecedented third gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles, and he told USA Today recently that the near disaster in Oregon has stuck with him as he prepared for today’s preliminary round.

“Since the Olympic Trials, that’s what my focus has been on,” Taylor told the newspaper. “That’s what I have been training for and focusing on, just finishing my race. I got it ready. I got it down pat, and I am ready to get it on.”

Taylor, who is tied with legendary hurdler Edwin Moses for the most gold medals in the 400 hurdles in Olympic history, runs his preliminary race at 6:15 a.m. today; it can be seen live on nbcolympics.com. If Taylor makes it out of the prelims and then advances past Saturday’s 2 p.m. semifinals, then he will run in Monday’s final at 3:45 p.m.

The United States has already racked up 37 medals, including 18 golds, in the first six days of competition in London, but Taylor said he’s been focused on just one event.

“I really haven’t had a chance to get out. I have been just staying focused and training. I’ll leave (the sightseeing) till after I’m done,” Taylor told USA Today. “I have been here and done it before, so just getting focused is about (all I’ve been doing).”

Taylor, who will be among 50 hurdlers competing in today’s preliminaries, will run in the fifth out of six heats. Taylor’s season-best time of 48.43 is nearly half a second better than the other seven runners in his heat and is fourth in the world this year.

Taylor’s main competitors will likely be Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, Great Britian’s David Greene, the United States’ Michael Tinsley and Japan’s Takayuki Kishimoto.