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Gatlin leads stunning 1-2 Team USATF finish; Lawson and Finley take medals

8/5/2017
 

LONDON -- On what was billed as one of the most historic nights in World Championships history, Team USATF stamped its unforgettable mark on the evening, with a stunning 1-2 finish by Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman in the men’s 100 Saturday at the IAAF World Championships at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.


The evening had already been a successful one for Team USATF, with Jarrion Lawson taking silver in the men’s long jump and Mason Finley grabbing bronze in the men’s discus to become first-time medalists.


But oh, that 100...


Gatlin makes history

Gatlin (Pensacola, Florida) made history by becoming the only person to win 100m world titles 12 years apart and leading the U.S. to its first 1-2 finish since 2001. At age 35y, 176 days, he is the oldest person ever to win a world 100m title.


The 2005 world champion, Gatlin had looked a bit vulnerable in the semifinals, running 10.09 to place second in the first semi. In the final, it was a different story. With Coleman (Atlanta, Georgia) in lane 5, Usain Bolt of Jamaica in 4 and Gatlin in 8, Coleman got out to an extremely quick start, with Bolt lagging behind in the lane next to him. Relatively distanced from the rest of the field in 8, Gatlin got a strong start that was largely overlooked until he stormed down the straightaway in the final meters, crossing the line in 9.92, with Coleman holding form for second in 9.94 and Bolt third in 9.95, in the final 100m competition of his storied career.


With the crowd roaring in disbelief, Gatlin crossed the finish line with arms outstretched, then fell to the track in tears of victory.

 

The semifinals had been a mixed bag. Coleman in semifinal 3 became the first man ever to relegate Bolt to second at a World Championship or Olympic semifinal, easing up in the final meters to win in 9.97, ahead of a closing Bolt’s 9.98. Chris Belcher (Sayville, New York) was fifth in semifinal 2 in 10.20 and did not advance.


Lawson wins LJ silver

Jarrion Lawson (Texarkana, Texas) opened long jump competition with a season’s-best 8.37m/27-5.5. When Luvo Manyonga of South Africa unleashed a jump of 8.48m/27-9.5 in the second round, Lawson responded with an improvement to 8.43m/27-8. Neither improved over the next five rounds; Lawson turned out what appeared to possibly have been a gold-medal jump with his last attempt, but when it was measured at 8.44m/27-8.25, Manyonga secured the gold in a great competition. Both men had performances that would have won gold in the last two world championships.


Finley grabs bronze with borrowed disc

Team USATF’s first medal of the World Championships came from a somewhat unexpected source. Mason Finley (Chaffee County, Colorado) was the lone U.S. entrant in the discus, and he entered the final down an implement. His personal, competition disc had been used by an opponent during Friday’s qualifying round, where it broke. It left Finley throwing with a borrowed implement in the final, but it seemed to suit him. The 11th-place finisher at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, he opened the final in grand style. With the very first throw of the competition, he heaved a personal-best 67.07m/220-0, improving on his 66.72m/218-11 PR from the 2016 Olympic Trials. On his second throw, Finley further improved to 68.03m/223-2, putting him in bronze medal position. That mark held through four more rounds of throwing, making him Team USATF’s first medalist in the event since Anthony Washington won the 1999 World title and the third American medalist in history. Andrius Gudzius of Lithuania won gold with a mark of 69.21m/227-0, with Daniel Stahl of Sweden in second, two centimeters back, the closest 1-2 result in world championship history.


Strong team performance in women’s 10,000m

Team USATF put all three women in the top nine of the women’s 10,000 meters. The race got off to an exceptionally slow opening, going out in 1:21 for 400 meters and 2:48 for 800. World record holder Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia and Yasemin Can of Turkey eventually broke away, with Ayana going through 5k in 15:17.47. It was a one-woman annihilation from there, with Ayana winning in 30:16.32 and Tirunesh Dibaba third in 31:02.69. 2015 bronze medalist Emily Infeld (University Heights, Ohio) moved up to place sixth in a personal-best time of 31:20.45, with American record holder Molly Huddle (Elmira, New York) eighth in 31:24.78 and training partner Emily Sisson (Chesterfield, Missouri) ninth in 31:26.36.


Simpson to return to women’s 1500m final

2011 world champion Jenny Simpson (Oviedo, Florida) moved on to what promises to be a very competitive women’s 1,500m final scheduled for Monday evening. During Saturday’s second semifinal, she ran in fifth place and moved up to finish third in 4:05.40. Sara Vaughn (Gering, Nebraska) was 10th in the race in 4:06.83 and Kate Grace (Santa Monica, California) finished 11th in the first semifinal in 4:16.70; neither woman advanced.


Women’s Heptathlon

Dealing with difficult conditions earlier in the day, Team USATF’s heptathletes were led by Kendell Williams (Kennesaw, Georgia). Williams scored 709 points in the shot put, recording her best throw of the day with a 12.73m/41-9.25 effort in round 2. She ran a 24.29 in the 200 and ended the day in 11th place with 3,686 points. Sharon Day-Monroe (Costa Mesa, California) had the second best throw overall in the shot put with a 15.14m/49-8.25, placing her ninth in the point standings with 2,777. She then won her heat of the 200m in 24.97 for 890 points, finishing the day 12th with 3,667.


Erica Bougard (Byhalia, Mississippi) utilized her first throw in the shot as her top of the afternoon, scoring 622 points with a 11.41m/37-5.25. A 23.66 in the 200m put her 17th overall with 3,628.


Team USATF continues competition on August 6 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 www.nothingisimpossible.com


TEAM USATF MEDAL TABLE

Gold

Justin Gatlin, Men’s 100m, 9.92 (8/5)


Silver

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

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


Bronze

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


Quotes

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


Men’s 100m Final

Justin Gatlin: It hasn’t even sunk in to me yet. This is the first time I ran where I didn’t run for myself I trained so hard this year. I had some setbacks but I ran for my support team, I ran for my country, I ran for the people watching at home who’ve really supported me at times when I didn’t believe in myself. It took the pressure off me. In lane 8, all the way out there, not in the middle of the track, I just did it for them. (On Bolt) Bolt is an electrifying character who has ran sizzling times, mind-blowing times. Throughout the years, he’s always kept it classy, he’s always kept excitement in the sport. He’s inspired me to be a stronger and faster competitor. I only wish every year to be his top rival, even coming back into the sport. We’ve grown so much respect for each other throughout the years. I think a lot of people in the media think that we have this bitter rivalry where we hate each other, but it’s actually the opposite. We joke around, we’ve actually gone to parties together. We just keep it low key, it’s a gentleman’s rivalry. I have nothing but respect for him. Even me being older than him, he is such an inspiration for me.


Christian Coleman: "I ended up getting second but I couldn't have lost to a better person, a better competitor, so I'm happy for Justin. I got a medal as well so you know, I'm excited... When you make it to this stage, this level, you can never take anybody for granted. Anybody was capable of coming out and winning and it showed in that race right there. You can never put anything past anybody because we're all great athletes, great competitors and it was a tight race but I'm excited. (On beating Bolt) It's a historic moment [to beat Bolt]. He's taken the sport to a whole other level so, to beat somebody who I've looked up to when I was coming up and watching him run... I was just happy to be on the line with him and it's even more humbling to come across the line."


Men’s Discus Throw Final

Mason Finley: “I have those throws in practice, so I’ve known I can do it for a while. It’s a mixture of things. I’ve got a really great connection with my coach. I’m learning to trust the movements. The stadium was just nuts tonight. People were actually cheering for the discus. It was crazy. (On how it feels to beat some great throwers) Especially when you’re talking about (Piotr) Malachowski (of Poland, 4th place) and (Robert) Harting (of Germany, fifth), it’s crazy to me. I’ve watched them on YouTube. These guys are my heroes, (I’ve been) watching their technique and trying to mimic them all the way through high school and college.”


Men’s Long Jump Final

Jarrion Lawson: “That last jump, I told my coach it was going to be a big one. We just needed to get on the board and let it be fair. When I made the jump, I knew it was going to be close but I didn’t know where and it was four centimeters off. I’m just thankful to God to have a silver medal this year. (Reflecting on pressure) I’m thankful that I’m not satisfied with silver and that I always want gold. This is going to be the first [medal] of many for me. This is definitely an improvement from last year and I’m looking to make improvements from this year.”


Women’s 10,000m Final

Emily Infeld: “Sixth in that field, I am really really excited for that. (On the quality of American distance runners) Having people at that level to compete against in the U.S. helps us all elevate our game. It’s exciting. Shalane (Flanagan) and Kara (Goucher), they were the first ones to really show we could be competitive on the world stage and medal, and Lynn Jennings, watching Deena (Kastor).”

Molly Huddle: “I was gassed at the end. There wasn’t much more I could do. I was hoping for more like fifth. I just wasn’t fit enough the last little bit the last two weeks. I’ve had just a little bit of a calf strain, so I took a couple days off and missed two workouts. Nothing huge, it was just bad timing. But I didn’t have any pain and I was glad to start the race pain-free. I’m a little disappointed.”

Emily Sisson: “It went out so slow, I didn’t really know what to think. I feel like I had a little bit too much left at the end, but I felt hesitant to make a move because they were so far ahead of us. With a lap to go, we started catching them, and I thought, I could have been a little more aggressive. I think I was too tentative and nervous. I didn’t want to blow myself up.”


Women’s 1500m Semis

Jenny Simpson: “This is an exercise in both patience and aggression and just trying to balance those two. There definitely were moments when I was in fourth or fifth and I thought, ‘you’ve got to get moving, girl. You can’t stay here with people that want to kick you down.’ It really is a balancing act. (On the final) Anything can happen. Two days from now, there are so many dynamics in our race right now. It’ll be really interesting. There are some good people that are showing themselves to be mortal, and there are people you didn’t really consider before who are being really consistent through the rounds. It’ll be good. I hope my experience really rises to the top.”

Kate Grace: “I’m really only used to running 800 rounds. I felt good before this race, not the normal lactic in your legs. That said, probably with 800, definitely 600 to go, I could just feel my legs were dead. I don’t know if that’s preparation or my eating in between or my recovery, but definitely that’s something I need to work on, because when they started moving, it just wasn’t there.”

Sara Vaughn: “I’m still kind of in a daze. It was a little disappointing. I tried to put myself in it and gave it everything I had. It just wasn’t my very best day. I really thought I positioned myself OK. I got bumped around a lot, but that’s typical. We were moving pretty good. I guess I just didn’t have it that last 300 like I normally do.”


Men’s 100m semifinals

Chris Belcher: “I felt like I got out good. I don’t think my transition was all bad, but I tried to get up and start running, and by the time I got up and started running, it was too late. I can only improve from this moment. I’m definitely going to work harder this offseason and fix anything I need to fix.”


Women’s Heptathlon

Kendell Williams: "It was a slow start for the both of us so, we weren't too happy about our first couple of events. Those two were some of our stronger ones so to start kind of slow, it's hard to get going and get your momentum going again. Shot put - not our strongest event so we were hoping to finish up with a good 200m but it could've been better so, all-in-all, just kind of like an eh kind of day."

Erica Bougard: "Tomorrow, for me, the main goal is just to finish stronger... definitely to finish top 8.”

Sharon Day-Monroe: “I’m a little tired. It’s been a long day, but I’m glad I was able to turn it around a little bit and go out there and do the best I can.”



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