WC / Day Seven: Fans Feast On Furlong Fury
Jackson’s and Lyles’ Domination Leads To Gold
2023 World Athletics Championships
August 25, 2023
With the concluding weekend of the 2023 World Athletics Championships drawing near, subtle signs of the athletes and their mindsets can often be observed. For some, they can be tired from the intense competition and anxious about the increasing pressures that emerge during these closing days. But for others, they have settled in, adjusted to the daily protocol, and are eager to compete on the big stage. We’ll soon find out which athletes stutter in these critical closing days and which athletes embrace it.
Here is what unfolded in the evening session of Day Seven of these championships…
After a long day of exciting and often improbable events on the track and in the field, a capacity crowd eagerly awaited the final events for Day Seven: the women’s 200-meter final and the men’s 200-meter final.
w200m – Final: The women’s final had been analyzed as a five-way showdown among Sha ‘Carri Richardson, Gabby Thomas, Julien Alfred, Shericka Jackson, and Dina Asher-Smith. But shortly after the race got underway, it was clear that this would more aptly be seen as Shericka Jackson’s golden celebration. Unchallenged down the homestretch, the Jamaican crossed the line in 21.41 – a world leader and #2 on the all-time list behind FloJo’s long-standing 21.34 WR in the ’88 Games. USA’s Thomas (21.81) finished 2nd for the silver, while USA’s Richardson (3rd in 21.92 PR) captured the bronze to go along with the gold medal she won in the 100-meter final.
Gabby Thomas, photo by Kevin Morris
m200m – Final: In the men’s 200m final, all eyes were on USA’s Noah Lyles and his quest to complete the much-ballyhooed 100m/200m sprint double. Soon after the gun was fired, it became clear that this championship race would be quite similar to Jackson’s dominating performance just minutes before. When Lyles’ signature curve sprint put him in the lead entering the homestretch, the race was frankly over as Noah soon crossed the finish line in 19.52. USA’s teenage phenom Erriyon Knighton (19.75), unphased by the bright lights and big stage, raced like a veteran to snag the silver, while Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo (19.81) earned bronze to go with the silver he won earlier in the men’s 100m final.
Noah Lyles, winner, 100m, World Athletics Championships
August 19-27, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris
Domination was not the key for the two field events showcased earlier in the evening; it was a critical, focused performance leading to last-minute surprises.
wTJ – Final: As the event got underway, the focus was upon Venezuelan triple jump specialist Yulimar Rojas – an Olympic medalist (Silver in Rio; Gold in Tokyo), a 3-time World Championship gold medalist, and #1 on both the current world list and the all-time world list. The decorated Rojas quickly dug herself into a hole, fouling 3 of her first 5 attempts and soon languishing in the event’s cellar, far away from any sort of medal opportunity. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk had launched an event-leading 15.00m//49’2 1/2″ on her opening attempt and was sailing away toward victory. On her final attempt, Rojas, nowhere near fouling, unfurled a sensational triple jump, spanning out 15.08m/49’5 3/4″ for the win and her fourth consecutive gold medal performance. When a desperate final attempt by Romanchuk failed to restore her to her previous gold medal position, she was relegated to the silver. Cuba’s Leyanis Perez Hernandez (14.95m/49’3/4″) finished 3rd for the bronze.
Yulimar Rojas won the TJ on her sixth jump, going from 8th to gold! photo by Kevin Morris
wJT – Final: There was drama in the final stages of the women’s javelin that was strikingly similar to the peculiar ending of the women’s triple jump. Columbia’s Flor Denis Ruiz Hurtado rang up a first-round throw of 65.47m /214’9″ that was perched in the gold medal position all the way to the final round. But on her final attempt, Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi (#1 on the world list) gathered herself and launched a majestic throw of 66.73m/218’1″ that swiped the gold away from Hurtado. Australia’s Mackenzie Little (63.38m/207’11”) also threw an approved 6th attempt heave that lifted her up to 3rd place and the bronze medal. The three Americans had a rough go of it as Keturah Orji finished 9th; Jasmine Moore was 11th; and Tori Franklin injured, and scratched.
m4x100m Relay – Round 1: The tension always seems to rise whenever the USA is competing in a sprint relay event. American fans are breathless: Will the USA quartet get the stick around? In Heat 1, the USA men got it right as Christian Coleman – always quick out of the blocks – got out well and executed a clean pass to rested-and-ready Fred Kerley, who rocketed down the backstretch. The pass from Kerley to Brandon Carnes, 4th in the US Trials 100m final, gave the USA a sizable lead as Carnes raced around the curve and handed off to JT Smith on anchor. The pass was a tad rough, but Smith, the reigning indoor 60-meter champ, held off a hard-charging Jamaican Rohan Watson to cross the line first. USA’s winning time of 37.67 was a world leader. In Heat Two, Italy (37.65) won the race and took over the world leader role as the Italian quartet featured reigning Olympic 100m champion Lamont Marcel Jacobs.
w4x100m Relay – Round 1: In the women’s Heat 1, the always power-packed Jamaicans gave a great opening performance, clocking a season’s best of 41.70 with multiple-time sprint medalist Elaine Thompson Herah racing the 2nd leg and old pro Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce showing tremendous speed on the anchor. In Heat 2, the USA foursome of Tamari Davis, Twanisha “TT” Terry, Tamara Clark, and Melissa Jefferson got the stick around the track in 41.59 – a season’s best and world leader. The final – which should be sizzling – will close the show on Saturday evening.
w800m – Semi: This semifinal revealed several insights for Sunday’s final. Six athletes now standout: Keely Hodgkinson (the Brit won Heat One in 1:58.48; her SB of 1:55.77 ranks her #1 on the world list ); Nia Akins (former Penn athlete has made great strides this year; raced a personal best of 1:58.61 in the semi); Raevyn Rogers (a veteran and global medalist; she ran 2:00.47 in the Heat 2 tactical race.); Jemma Reekie (a crafty racer; she won the tactical Heat 2 race in 2:00.28); Athing Mu (This incredible talent is hard to gauge given her only limited racing this year; if she’s on her game, she’s a definite threat); and Mary Moraa (a front runner; see ran 1:58.48 to slide in front of Mu and win her semi in 1:58.48) Sunday’s final should be terrific.
Decathlon Update – Day One: 18 athletes still remain after the steam bath that was Day One. Remember: it is only halftime. The top three after the first five events are Germany’s Leo Neugebauer with 4640 points, Canada’s Pierce LePage with 4610 points, and Canada’s Damian Warner with 4578 points. / Dave Hunter /