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Double gold, two American records on Day 9 of IAAF World Championships


DOHA -- Medals to the left of them, records to the right of them, Team USATF was stuck right in the middle of the podium on the ninth day of the IAAF World Championships at Khalifa International Stadium. American men dominated the sprint relay and a pair of U.S. throwers came out on top of a historic competition.


With one day left, the U.S. has 25 medals, 11 of them gold, and sits atop the point standings with 271, miles clear of the next best nation, China, which has 99. Jamaica and China are tied for second on the overall medal table with nine each.


There is probably no word in the English language to accurately describe what will surely go down as the greatest men’s shot put competition in history. 


2016 Olympic champion Ryan Crouser (Chula Vista, California) effortlessly produced a 22.36m/73-4.5 opener, which was at the time a championships record. Then New Zealand’s Tom Walsh, the reigning World champion, blasted a 22.90m/75-1.75 on his first throw, leaving one to wonder if the competition was over before it really began.


Crouser matched his best in round three and was joined in the final three throws by U.S. teammates Darrell Hill (Chula Vista, California) and Joe Kovacs (Powell, Ohio), who both went past 70-feet in the first three rounds.


Putting pressure on Walsh, who had fouled his next two attempts after the big opener, Crouser hit 22.71m/74-6.25 in the fourth round to move up to second past Brazil’s Darlan Romani, who had a 22.53m/73-11 to his credit. 


That set the stage for the final round. Kovacs, the 2015 World champion and 2017 silver medalist, sent the 16-pound ball into orbit with a 22.91m/75-2 to take the lead by one centimeter, eliciting a paroxysm of exultation. Crouser came through in the clutch on the next throw and nailed a 22.90m/75-1.75 on his final effort, moving ahead of Walsh on the basis of a better second performance. When Walsh fouled his final try, it was a 1-2 Team USATF finish for the third time in meet history. Hill ended up fifth with a best of 21.65m/71-0.5.


Kovacs moved to equal No. 3 on the all-time world performer list, and Crouser is now equal No. 5. 


No other country had the sheer speed of Team USATF in the men’s 4x100m relay. Slick passes added an edge that ensured gold and the foursome of Christian Coleman (Atlanta, Georgia), Justin Gatlin (Clermont, Florida), Mike Rodgers (Georgetown, Texas) and Noah Lyles (Clermont, Florida) smashed the American record with a 37.10 that ranks as the third fastest time ever run behind only a pair of marks by Jamaica.


Coleman performed as expected on the lead leg and gave Gatlin the stick in the lead. Gatlin rolled down the backstretch and made sure to get the pass safely to Rodgers as several other squads had closed the gap. Rodgers made the exchange with 200m champion Lyles and the only question remaining was how fast the team would run. It was the first sprint relay gold at the World Championships for the American men since 2007.


Running the same quartet that won in the semifinal, Team USATF had safe passes throughout and ran to bronze in 42.10 with a team of Dezerea Bryant (Clermont, Florida), Teahna Daniels (Austin, Texas), Moroloake Akinosun (Austin, Texas) and Kiara Parker (Fayetteville, Arkansas).


It says everything about the quality of the field when you shatter the American record and finish out of the medals. Shelby Houlihan (Portland, Oregon) held her place in the middle of the pack past 400m in 63.96, 800m in 2:06.66 and 1200m in 3:08.29. Houlihan turned on the jets off the last turn and gritted to the line in 3:54.99 in fourth, beating the existing AR of 3:56.29 by Shannon Rowbury in 2015.


2011 champion Jenny Simpson (Boulder, Colorado), a three-time Worlds medalist, had a season’s best 3:58.42 in eighth, with Nikki Hiltz (San Diego, California) 12th in 4:06.68.


In her first appearance at the outdoor World Championships, Keturah Orji (Atlanta, Georgia) finished seventh in the women’s triple jump at 14.46m/47-5.25. American record holder Tori Franklin (Oak Park, Illinois) was ninth with a best of 14.08m/46-2.5.


For the second time in as many races, Karissa Schweizer (Portland, Oregon) demolished her lifetime best in the 5,000m, clocking 14:45.18 in ninth place to move to No. 5 on the all-time U.S. performer list. Elinor Purrier (Montgomery, Vermont) also dipped under 15 minutes with a 14:58.17 PR in 11th.


4x4s in prime position after prelims

An experienced quartet stayed out of trouble and won the second semifinal of the women’s 4x400m relay in 3:22.96, the fastest time of the two sections and the fastest in the world in 2019. Jessica Beard (College Station, Texas) handed off in fourth to Allyson Felix (Troy, Michigan), who showed why she is the most decorated athlete in World Championships history by sprinting to the lead on the backstretch and setting the U.S. up for the win. Kendall Ellis (North Hollywood, California) kept a comfortable margin with a 51.13 on the third carry before Courtney Okolo (Dallas, Texas) split 49.85 to finish off a convincing qualifying effort.


Team USATF overcame a difficult second exchange to win the first semifinal in the men’s 4x400m relay. Lead leg Tyrell Richard (Georgetown, South Carolina) passed the baton second and Vernon Norwood (New Orleans, Louisiana) established himself at the front at the break. A poor handoff with Wil London (Waco, Texas) put the U.S. back to fourth, but no worries, London zipped to the lead off the final bend and gave Nathan Strother (Knoxville, Tennessee) an almost unassailable lead into the anchor. Strother closed well in 44.76 to stop the clock at 2:59.89 for the win.


Four U.S. women advance to final day

Heat wins by two of three Team USATF athletes sandwiched a moment of disaster in the heats of the women’s 100m hurdles. Two-time World Indoor 60m hurdles champion Nia Ali (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was quickly away and led from the gun, winning heat one by more than a stride in 12.59. In heat four, world record holder Keni Harrison (Austin, Texas) rocketed to the first barrier and ran smoothly and efficiently throughout to win in 12.55.


Between those two wins, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Brianna McNeal (Winnetka, California) false started in the second heat.


Half the U.S. contingent nabbed berths in the final of the long jump, topped by Tori Bowie (San Diego, California), who surpassed the automatic qualifying mark by two centimeters in round two with a 6.77m/22-2.5. Sha’Keela Saunders (Lexington, Kentucky) eked in with her third-round 6.53m/21-5.25, giving her the 12th and final spot.


Four-time World champion Brittney Reese (Chula Vista, California) saw her hopes of a fifth title snatched away near the end of qualifying in group A. Her final attempt yielded a 6.52m/21-4.75 that was one centimeter short of advancing. Jasmine Todd (Chandler, Arizona) also narrowly missed out on qualifying for the final with her 6.51m/21-4.25 to place 14th.


U.S. men’s javelin champion Michael Shuey (Chula Vista, California) went past the 80m mark on his final throw in qualifying, but his 80.53m/264-2 did not advance him to the final. Riley Dolezal (Fargo, North Dakota) finished 12th in group A with a best of 75.62m/248-1 and did not qualify.


In the midnight men’s marathon, Ahmed Osman (Flagstaff, Arizonna) placed 23rd overall in 2:16:22, Elkanah Kibet (Benton, Illinois) finished 38th with a season best 2:19:33 and Andrew Epperson  (Fort Collins, Colorado) crossed the line 46th with a time of 2:23:11.


Day 10 - Sunday, October 6


8:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. (Same Day Delayed)


12:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Live)

NBC Sports Gold

11:00 a.m. - 3:20 p.m. (Live - Track Events)

NBC Sports Gold

12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Live - M Javelin)

NBC Sports Gold

11:50 p.m. - 1:35 p.m. (Live - W Long Jump)


Medal Table


Gold (11)

Women’s Hammer, DeAnna Price, 77.54m

Men’s 100m, Christian Coleman, 9.76 WL

Men’s Triple Jump, Christian Taylor, 17.92m

Mixed 4x400 (Wil London, Allyson Felix, Courtney Okolo, Michael Cherry), 3:09.34 WR

Men’s 800m, Donavan Brazier, 1:42.34 AR/MR

Men’s Pole Vault, Sam Kendricks, 5.97m/19-7

Men’s 200m, Noah Lyles, 19.83

Men’s 110m Hurdles, Grant Holloway, 13.10

Women’s 400m Hurdles, Dalilah Muhammad, 52.16 WR

Men’s Shot Put, Joe Kovacs, 22.91m

Men’s 4x100m relay, (Christian Coleman, Justin Gatlin, Mike Rodgers, Noah Lyles), 37.10 AR


Silver (10)

Men’s Long Jump, Jeff Henderson, 8.39m

Men’s 100m, Justin Gatlin, 9.89

Women’s Pole Vault, Sandi Morris, 4.90m

Men’s Triple Jump, Will Claye, 17.74m

Women’s 3,000m Steeplechase, Emma Coburn, 9:02.35

Women’s 800m, Raevyn Rogers, 1:58.18

Men’s 400m Hurdles, Rai Benjamin, 47.66

Women’s 200m, Brittany Brown, 22.22

Women’s 400m Hurdles, Sydney McLaughlin, 52.23

Men’s Shot Put, Ryan Crouser, 22.90m


Bronze (4)

Women’s 800m, Ajee’ Wilson, 1:58.84

Women’s High Jump, Vashti Cunningham, 2.00m

Men’s 400m, Fred Kerley, 44.17

Women’s 4x100m relay, (Dezerea Bryant, Teahna Daniels, Morolake Akinosun, Kiara Parker), 42.10


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