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Francis surges to 400m gold; Felix, Carter and Clement take bronze


LONDON -- A 1-3 finish by Phyllis Francis and Allyson Felix, combined with bronze medals from Rio Olympic champions Michelle Carter and Kerron Clement in cold, rainy and breezy conditions, gave Team USATF a four-medal evening and 15 medals thus far at the World Championships Wednesday night at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium.

Phyllis left speechless after golden run in 400

The women’s 400 was billed as a rematch of defending world champion Felix (Los Angeles) and Olympic gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, who famously dove at the finish line in Rio to take the gold.

Until the final 100m, it looked like that rematch was on. Felix went out well in lane 5 and made up the stagger on Francis (Queens, New York) in lane 6 roughly 150m into the race. Miller-Uibo also went out fast and came into the final stretch leading Felix by two strides when Felix, Francis and Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain all began closing. Miller suddenly broke stride with 20 m to go, favoring her left leg, as Francis surged to the win in a personal-best time of 49.92. Naser was second in a national record 50.06, and Felix was third in 50.08 to win her 14th medal in world championship competition. Miller-Uibo held on for fourth in 50.49.

Carter takes another medal in WSP

In the women’s shot put, Carter (Red Oak, Texas) won her fourth consecutive medal in a global event following bronze at 2015 World Outdoors and gold at the 2016 World Indoor Championships and 2016 Olympic Games. In London, she improved with each of her first three throws and went into the final three rounds of throwing with a best mark of 19.14m/62-9.50, in second place behind three-time medalist Lijiao Gong of China at 19.35m/63-6. Gong extended her lead with a throw of 19.94/65-6 on her fifth attempt, and Anita Marton of Hungary put 19.49/63-11.5 on her final throw to bump Carter to bronze. Raven Saunders (Charleston, South Carolina) wasn’t at full form in the inclement conditions and had a best mark of 17.86m/58-7.25 on her third throw to place tenth.

Clement claims bronze

In what the in-stadium announcer called “wretched conditions for hurdling,” Clement (La Porte, Texas) was timid out of the blocks but picked it up on the backstretch as 21-year-old Karsten Warholm of Norway went out blazing. Clement was strong around the final curve and was poised to start reeling in Warholm, setting up a potentially frantic sprint for the finish, but Clement stutter-stepped over the final hurdle and finished with the bronze in 48.52. Warholm won in 48.35, with Yasmani Copello of Turkey second in 48.49. TJ Holmes (St. Petersburg, Florida), a rising senior at the University of Florida, struggled to find his form early in the race but moved up in the final stretch to place fifth in 49.00.

Coburn, Frerichs advance to steeple final

Olympic bronze medalist Emma Coburn (Crested Butte, Colorado) ran a very controlled and confident race and was never in trouble in the third and final qualifying heat of the women’s steeplechase, finishing second in 9:27.42. In heat 2, Courtney Frerichs (Nixa, Missouri) was third at the halfway point and retained that position to earn an automatic berth in 9:25.14. In the first heat, Colleen Quigley (St. Louis, Missouri) was fifth with one lap to go in the first heat, just at the edge of the back of the lead pack, hurdling very well over the final water jump and barrier to move into third in 9:40.07 before being disqualified for stepping on the inside line after the final water jump.

Bartoletta, Reese set up another showdown

The two American women who have combined to win the last four world championships and five of the last six titles both advanced to the long jump final in a round when the weather prevented anyone from achieving the automatic qualifying mark of 6.70m/21-11.75. Jumping in conditions reminiscent of Helsinki ‘05 when she won her first world title, defending champion and Olympic gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta (Elyria, Ohio) went 6.64m/21-9.5 on her first attempt to post the second-best mark in qualifying. Three-time world champion Brittney Reese (Gulfport, Mississippi) had a best mark of 6.50m/21-4 to rank ninth and advance. Quanesha Burks (Hartselle, Alabama) had a best of 6.44m/21-1.5 for 14th and Sha’Keela Saunders (Chesapeake, Virginia) 6.32m/20-9 for 21st to miss the final field of 12.

Hill, Chelimo battle to make 5000m final

Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo (Colorado Springs, Colorado) endured a scare in a physical race en route to qualifying for the 5,000m final. Running in the second of two qualifying heats, Chelimo was bumped in a large pack in the early stages of the race, which resulted in him having a conversation with a competitor, during which he conveyed several unhappy gestures. Just past the 3k mark, Chelimo got his legs tangled in the close pack and slid headfirst down the track. He got up gingerly and appeared to be in discomfort as he worked his way back into the pack. Ryan Hill (Hickory, North Carolina) stayed farther back and out of trouble. Hill passed Chelimo on the final curve and moved up to automatically qualify by placing fifth, running 13:22.79. Chelimo finished eighth in 13:24.88 and qualified for the final on time.

Eric Jenkins (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) moved up into qualifying contention with 200 to go, but found himself in some jostling in the final straight and ended 10th in 13:31.09, just 1.02 behind the winner as there was a mass of finishers off the slow pace.

Young, Webb to run 200m final

Isiah Young (Junction City, Kansas) got off to a strong start around the curve in lane 7 and won semi 1 in 20.12 to automatically qualify with the fastest time overall, just ahead of world leader Isaac Makwala of Botswana. Ameer Webb (Harbor City, California) had a great start around the curve in heat 3 in lane 5 and ran solid down the stretch to automatically qualify in second place in 20.22, .06 ahead of 400m world record holder Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa. Kyree King (Ontario, California) came off the curve in fifth or sixth place and couldn’t make up ground in heat 2. He placed fifth in 20.59 and did not advance.

Men’s Hammer Throw Qualifying

It was a tough day of throwing for Americans in the hammer. Alex Young (Nashville, Tennessee) had a best mark of 72.07/236-5 as the 20th-best mark of the day, Rudy Winkler (Sand Lake, New York) hit 68.88m/226-0 on his final attempt for 31st, and Kibwé Johnson (San Francisco, California) threw 68.86/225-11 for 32nd.

Team USATF continues competition on August 10 under the lights at Olympic Stadium in London. Fans can follow along with #TeamUSATF at #IAAFWorlds on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Full TV and webcast viewing times can be found here.

HELP TEAM USATF GIVE BACK: After a 32-medal winning performance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Team USATF has joined forces with the American Cancer Society to raise money for the fight against cancer. Celebrate the success of Team USATF at the 2017 IAAF World Championships by making a pledge for every medal Team USATF wins in London! To make a pledge and to watch a PSA featuring Christian Taylor and cancer survivor Gabe Grunewald, visit


Gold (4)

Justin Gatlin, Men’s 100m, 9.92 (8/5)

Tori Bowie, Women’s 100m, 10.85 (8/6)

Sam Kendricks, Men’s Pole Vault, 5.95m/19-6.25 (8/8)

Phyllis Francis, Women’s 400m, 49.92 (8/9)

Silver (5)

Jarrion Lawson, Men’s Long Jump, 8.44m/27-8.25 (8/5)

Christian Coleman, Men’s 100m, 9.94 (8/5)

Sandi Morris, Women’s Pole Vault, 4.75m/15-7 (8/6)

Joe Kovacs, Men’s Shot Put, 21.66/71-0.75 (8/6)

Jenny Simpson, Women’s 1500m, 4:02.76 (8/7)

Bronze (6)

Mason Finley, Men’s Discus Throw, 68.03m/223-2 (8/5)

Amy Cragg, Women’s Marathon, 2:27:18 (8/6)

Evan Jager, Men’s 3000m Steeplechase, 8:15.53 (8/8)

Michelle Carter, Women’s Shot Put, 19.14m/62-9.5 (8/9)

Kerron Clement, Men’s 400m Hurdles, 48.52 (8/9)

Allyson Felix, Women’s 400m, 50.08 (8/9)


Note: for additional video quotes, see USATF’s Instagram feed.

Women’s 400m Final

Allyson Felix: I felt in a good position coming home and coming off the last 150m and tried to make a move, but it wasn't there. My legs were heavy and I didn't have it coming home. (On if she thought Phyllis could win) I think when you have these big matchups, you never want to underestimate anyone. I'm just happy for her; she's been good all season. It's nice for her to come out on top. Outside forces build these races up. This whole championships, we've seen that. It doesn't always play out the way people expect it to, so as a competitor, you respect everyone in the race. It can be anyone's race on any given night. Phyllis is a great competitor. She had a great career at Oregon and she's really come into her own. It's awesome to see her as world champion. (On if the weather was a factor in the race) I think everyone had to deal with the conditions. Obviously they were not ideal, but you have to roll with it. I'm not quite sure what the factor was for me coming home, why it wasn't there when it typically is for me. It wasn't tonight and it is what it is. (On if she was trying to get redemption from Rio 400m final) The Olympic 400 [final] is a different [race] altogether. I tried to come into this race with a fresh approach and to give it my all. I feel like I did that, but I couldn't put it quite together. It's disappointing but I have to pick up the pieces and get ready for the rest of the races I have.

Phyllis Francis: "It happened so fast. I told myself, top 3. Whatever happens the last 50 meters happens. I was focusing on my form and I didn't even know I won until one of my friends started screaming, 'You won!' and I was like, 'holy smokes!' I knew [the medal] was gold because they were jumping up and down and I thought, 'oh snap, this must be really serious right now!' My coach and my friend from high school came all the way out here. I saw them because they told me where they were sitting before I set my blocks up. So when I looked over toward them, they were like, 'you did it! You did it!' They were jumping up and down. (On if she was stressed coming down the stretch) I told myself, 'don't freak out. Be patient and trust in yourself. I'm meant to be here. I'm strong enough. I've been training and putting in the work. You got this.' [To beat Shaunae and Allyson] is a great motivator and confidence booster as well. It tells me the training is there and my coach isn't lying to me! [laughs] (On if she thought she could win) No, I didn't think I could win this race [coming into it]. I thought I could be top 3. I try not to put too much expectation on myself because I tend to overthink that. I take it day by day and go with the flow. What I tend to do to myself is run other athletes' races so this race, I decided to do my own race and it turned out really well. (On if the weather affected her at all) I went to Oregon and it rains there all the time. This is nothing. I actually like this kind of weather, believe or not."


Men’s 400mH Final

Kerron Clement: “I’m going to be honest. I’m very disappointed. I used my non-dominant leg off the last hurdle and that really cost me the gold medal. That’s the honest truth. If I’d kept my same leg off the last hurdle, I’d have gotten the gold medal. But me switching legs, I didn’t have momentum over the last hurdle. That’s the reason I have the bronze medal. (On why he did that) The leg just came up, I don’t know. In the semifinal, I had a perfect run. I was in the same position, I think fourth place going over the last hurdle. I used my surge to propel me to the finish line and to finish first in the semifinal. I had that same mindset coming into the finals. Regardless of which place I was, if I’d just had a good surge off the last hurdle I’d have gotten the gold medal. But I switched legs and that really cost me the gold medal.”

TJ Holmes: “I’m definitely grateful and blessed. I thank God for even allowing me to be here to represent my country. It wasn’t the result that I wanted, but I’ll be back. I know how it is now. It will definitely give me more experience for next time.”


Women’s Shot Put Final

Michelle Carter: “It’s always a little difficult in the rain. Mentally you have to fight past the weather conditions and then trust in your technique and in your training. But I went out there and gave it my all. It’s been a long season. I’m glad that I’m able to walk away with something for Team USA. (On potential for a big throw) It’s always right when you see consistency. But it’s always a hidden thing. You never know if you’re going to be able to hold on just for a fraction of a second longer just to get that extra power all the way through. I’m just glad that I’m still on the podium.”

Raven Saunders: “It wasn’t what I wanted. I definitely could have given it a lot more, especially making the finals. Seeing what it took to place in the top 3, that wasn’t anything out of my reach. I’ve got two years to work for another world championships and try to get a better result next time. I’m really disappointed in myself, because I had such amazing training leading up to this meet. Probably better than USAs. I just wasn’t able to put it together.”


Women’s 3000m Steeplechase

Emma Coburn: “I feel good. I was telling someone else that it was so odd. The beauty of being in the third heat is that you always get to see the times ahead of you. When we were in call room, they wouldn’t let us look at the screens, because they said it was an unfair advantage. That’s the point of being in the third heat, that’s the rule of the sport. It’s not like its an unfair advantage or cheating to do that. I was running that heat blind. I knew that the first heat had gone slow, but I didn’t know how fast I had to go. I was hoping to sit behind people and not have to work. That first k was so slow and that second k, I took over a little bit. I didn’t want to give too much effort. So, we had to close a little bit fast to kind of get it down to a small group. And, again, I didn’t know if I needed to run a 9:25. Was that the qualifier or not. So, the last 100 I was trying to get in the top three and not get in fourth.”

Courtney Frerichs: “We wanted to get that big Q, that was the whole goal. I’d spoken to Jerry Pascal about not having to run 9:15 if we don’t have to, so when the two of them took off I felt it was best to let them go. I think my fitness is there to be with them, but at least at that pace, but we’ll see on Friday. We got this big Q and it felt great out there. That’s the best I’ve ever felt running 9:25, I’m pretty confident going forward.”


Women’s Long Jump

Tianna Bartoletta: “We were soaked. It was both wet and windy. I remember this from 12 years ago. I won my first title in conditions just like this. So, when I woke up this morning I was like, okay. I feel like I’m probably the only one in this field whose been in weather like this at a World Championships. It worked out fine for me. I just figure you just execute and what happens, what happens.”

Brittney Reese: “It was wet. You know it’s kind of hard being a jumper and jumping in the wet. The name of the game is making it to the final, so everything that happened today is erased and you just get ready for Friday. My competitors, they’re going to go for it, and I have to do the same thing. I think the weather will be pretty decent on Friday, so I think it will be good.”

Quanesha Burks: “It was my first world championships. It didn’t go as planned but it was a great experience. I’m looking forward to taking a break, getting ready for next season and indoor worlds.”


Men’s Hammer Throw

Rudy Winkler: “It’s a learning experience. I’m still a pretty young dude doing a sport that’s for old men. Every experience I can get it good. I wanted more, but it’s always a good learning experience to come out here and compete on the international stage.”

Alex Young: “I wouldn’t really say tough conditions, but it was a little harder than sunny and 75. I’m used to throwing in the rain in Louisiana, I’m not too used to the chilly weather being down there. For my first time out, I did a pretty good job. It affects you a little bit, but I try not to let that get to me”

Kibwé Johnson: “I was here in 2012, so I had a lot of good energy coming into it. I’m familiar with the stadium and how loud it is. London is a great city. I like this ring. I really like this ring when it’s wet. It’s probably the best ring I’ve been in when it’s wet. It was not at all an issue, it just wasn’t there.”


Men’s 5000m

Ryan Hill: “This is like a December day in Portland (where Hill trains). No problem for Mo (Farah) and I (who also trains in Portland). It got really physical, and I had to hurdle someone. I didn’t know Chelimo went down until he passed me. It was an exciting race, and I had a lot of doubts midway through, but it helped knowing that, with the last lap, I knew we were getting through, so that kind of kept me in it and kept me alive. I had a good finish.”    

Paul Chelimo: “That was tough racing. I went out there and I got tripped. That was crazy. Just somebody clipped me from the back. I fell down, it’s really slick out there. It’s really wet. I couldn’t even control myself so that I could stay up. When I fell down, I was like, Paul it’s not over. You have to stand up and get back into it. A lot of people, they always believe in me and they wanted me in the finals, so I did it and I’m into the finals now. I want to get into the finals and do my thing. It was tough out there today, I’m just hoping for the best out there in the finals.”


Men’s 200m Semis

Kyree King: “It was just a great experience. My first time on the world stage. Obviously I wanted to make the final and move on, but I’m happy to make it here. I’m pretty happy right now but a little disappointed as well. I have a big chip on my shoulder now, so I’m gonna come back, go home and train hard. I’m from Eugene (Oregon) so we get this weather all the time, but I just didn’t execute today.”

Ameer Webb: “That was the plan, to get out hard, knowing Van Niekerk has a lot of strength. I wanted to get ahead of him so when he did hit his end bend, that I’d still have room to accelerate and finish the race top two. (On coming off the curve in position he was in and to get second): I was a little skeptical at first. I didn’t realize I’d come off first. I was just waiting for someone to come off and challenge me. When they did, I just tried to respond and make sure I finished top two.”

Isiah Young: “At this point it doesn’t matter if they put 10 guys in the race. You still have to focus on your lane and make sure you execute and do what you have to do to get to the next round. So, I did today. At this point, through the rounds you try to conserve as much energy as you can. Now going into this final, everyone is going to give it everything they can and I’m one of those guys. Tomorrow I expect that the top three times will be 19, no matter what the conditions are. We’ll try to put on a show for the fans.”

Amanda Brooks
Marketing and Communications Manager
USA Track & Field

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