Photo: David Monti, Race Results Weekly
There were many surprising performances and victories at the IAAF World Championships this past weekend. Here is what you may have missed during the first three days of the meet, as well as some races to watch for this week.
Bolt loses his first championship race
In the final 100-meter race of his career, Usain Bolt shocked the crowd not by winning yet again, but by finally losing. USA’s Justin Gatlin won the race in 9.92, followed by fellow American Christian Coleman in 9.94. Bolt had to settle for the bronze medal.
Gatlin is a polarizing figure in track and field, due to his previous doping ban. However, in his post-race interview, he praised Bolt, telling Let’s Run that “He’s inspired me to be a better, faster competitor, and I’ve only wished every year that I could be his top rival.”
Meanwhile Bolt is not altering his plans to retire due to his loss.
“I was always going to end no matter what happened—win, lose or draw,” Bolt said to the New York Times. “I was always going to walk away. I’ve done all I can do for the sport and for myself. It’s time to go.”
Farah once again wins 10,000-meter world title
In an exciting and fast-paced race, Mo Farah proved that despite his age, he still has what it takes to walk away with a gold medal. Farah ran a 26:49.51 to win his third straight 10,000-meter title in front of fans in his hometown of London.
“I can’t lose in my hometown,” Farah said, as reported by Race Results Weekly. “I can’t, I can’t. There’s no place like London. I love the people.”
Farah took the lead with four laps to go in the race. With only 300 meters left, he got tangled with Kenya’s Paul Tanui, but managed to avoid a fall and launch into his kick. His last lap was a speedy 55.7 seconds. Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei was second in 26:49.94 and Tanui finished third in 26:50.60. In total, seven men broke 27 minutes. Farah will next race in the heats of the 5000 meters on Wednesday.
Cragg takes bronze in marathon with a sprint to the finish
With her third place finish in the marathon on Sunday afternoon, Amy Cragg became the first American woman to medal in the event in 34 years. After the 35 kilometer mark, Cragg, Bahrain’s Rose Chelimo, and Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat and Flomena Cheyech broke away from the pack of 14 runners. Chelimo and Kiplagat fought for the lead, with Chelimo eventually winning in 2:27:11. Kiplagat earned silver. Behind them, Cragg and Cheyech fought for third place, exchanging leads until Cragg passed with 400 meters to go to win the bronze.
“I am so thrilled with this,” Cragg told reporters. “It was really painful, but worth every little bit of pain.”
An unbelievable victory in the women’s 10,000m
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana turned both an unbelievable and questionable performance to win the women’s 10,000 meters on Sunday night. Her winning time of 30:16.32 was 46 seconds faster than the second place finisher. Ayana’s last 5,000 meters was run in 14:24.96, which is faster than her 5000m championships record of 14:26.83. She lapped almost everyone in the field of world class runners in route to her victory.
Emily Infeld was the top U.S. finisher, with a personal best of 32:20.45. Fellow American Molly Huddle, who finished in 8th, was asked by Let’s Run if she felt suspicious about Ayana’s race.
“I feel like they get away with a lot to be honest,” says Huddle. “Everyone talks about Russia and Kenya and they’ve kind of cracked down on them. So maybe [Ethiopia] will be the next country to get a bit more stricter regulations and testing. Unfortunately nowadays you always have to question a world record.”
Bowie’s finish line lean earns her a gold
Another American pulled off a big upset in the sprints as well. With a dramatic dip at the finish to earn the gold, Tori Bowie stole a victory away from Marie-Josée Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast. Ta Lou initially assumed she won until the results were finalized after a few confusing moments. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, who was the pre-race favorite, faded to 5th place. Bowie will now try to win the 200 meters later on in the meet, with heats beginning on Tuesday.
“I have a few cuts,” she said to the NY Times, “but I’ll be ready for the 200 meters.”
This is the first time since 2005 that an American man and woman both hold the title for the 100 meters.
Events to watch this week
Monday, Aug. 7: Women’s 1500 meter final
One of the most competitive finals in World Championship history, this should be one of the best races of the entire meet. American Jenny Simpson will be in the hunt for a medal.
Tuesday, Aug. 8: Men’s 3000 meter steeplechase
Evan Jager tries to become the first American to win gold in the men’s steeplechase.
Wednesday, Aug. 9: Women’s 400 meters
Thursday, Aug. 10: Men’s 200 meters
Friday, Aug. 11: Women’s 3000 meter steeplechase, Women’s 200 meters
Saturday Aug. 12: Men’s 5000 meters, Men’s and Women’s 4×100 meter relay
Sunday Aug. 13: Packed day! Women’s 5000 meters, Women’s 800 meters, Men’s 1500 meters and Men’s and Women’s 4×400 meter relay.