ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- Team USA left the Atakoy Athletics Arena Sunday after the final day of the World Indoor Championships with the most gold medals in team history. Brittney Reese (long jump) and Bernard Lagat (3,000m) each defended their World Indoor titles to go along with gold medals from Will Claye (triple jump), Aries Merritt (60m hurdles) and the men’s 4x400m relay to bring the count of American gold medals to 10 for the weekend.
Team USA bettered the mark of eight gold medals it set in 1993, 2003 and 2010. Team USA also picked up three silver medals from Christian Taylor (triple jump), Janay DeLoach (long jump) and the women’s 4x400m relay along with bronze medals from Tianna Madison (60m) and Erica Moore (800m) to bring the team’s total to 18 for the World Indoor Championships, which is second only to the 19 medals it won in 1999. Great Britain was second in the medal count with a total of nine.
Reese came to Istanbul with the goal of defending her World Indoor title and establish an American record. She accomplished both and broke Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s 18-year-old record in the process with a lead of 7.23m/23-8.75. The jump came on her final attempt moments after DeLoach had just taken the lead with a jump of 6.98m/22-10.75. It marks the first time in World Indoor Championships history Team USA has won a pair of medals in the women’s long jump.
Lagat etched his name next to Ethiopia’s Haile Gebreselassie as the only men to ever win three World Indoor titles in the men’s 3,000m. Lagat’s victory came after he ran away from the rest of the field on the final lap to win in a time of 7:41.44. It accompanies his world titles from 2004 and 2010. Lopez Lomong recorded a personal best in the race to finish sixth in 7:44.16.
When Claye left the competition venue Saturday he had just finished fourth in the long jump. He didn’t miss any opportunities in jumping a world-leading mark of 17.70m/58-1 to win the gold Sunday in the triple jump. Teammates also at the University of Florida, Claye and Taylor become the first members of Team USA to finish 1-2 in the event at the World Indoor Championships. Taylor jumped a personal best of 17.63m/57-10.25 to take the silver.
Merritt took advantage of a good start and held off China’s Xiang Liu to win in a time of 7.44. The 2004 World Junior champion, Merritt becomes the first gold medalist in the event for Team USA since Terrence Trammell in 2006.
The men’s 4x400m relay had their sites set on breaking the current world record held by the U.S. of 3:02.83 and finished just over a second off at 3:03.94. Frankie Wright, Calvin Smith, Manteo Mitchell and Gil Roberts came together to run in the final while Jamaal Torrance and Quentin Iglehart-Summers helped to advance the team by running in the preliminaries. It marks the fourth consecutive year Team USA has won the men’s 4x400m at the World Indoor Championships.
Sanya Richards-Ross received the baton in third position in the women’s 4x400m. She moved into second place on the backstretch of the final lap, but was not able to catch Great Britain’s Perri Shakes-Drayton. Team USA took the silver in a time of 3:28.79. Richards-Ross was joined by Leslie Cole, Natasha Hastings and Jernail Hayes on the squad.
Moore pushed the pace through the first two laps of the women’s 800m to pick up a bronze medal for Team USA. Moore, the 2012 USA Indoor Champion and on her first World Championships team, ran a personal best time of 1:59.97.
Madison headed to Istanbul as the world-leader in the women’s 60m and returned with a bronze medal. Her finals time of 7.09 was just behind Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown (7.01) and the Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure (7.04). Team USA has now won a medal in the women’s 60m at every World Indoor Championships since 1991. Barbara Pierre placed seventh in a time of 7.06.
The 2011 World Outdoor champion, Jesse Williams cleared 2.31m/7-7 on his final attempt before scratching out at the next height to finish sixth in the men’s high jump.
Lacy Janson cleared a personal best height of 4.65m/15-3 to finish fifth while Mary Saxer cleared 4.30m/14-1.25 to finish 14th in the women’s pole vault. Sara Hall and Jackie Areson advanced to the finals of the women’s 3,000m before placing eight and 11th, respectively. Hall’s final time was 8:59.95 and Areson ran a personal best of 9:12.50. Michael Rutt advanced into the final of the men’s 800m before placing fifth Sunday in a time of 1:51.47.
For more information on the World Indoor Championships see www.usatf.org.
Team USA Medals
Ryan Whiting, men’s shot put, 22.00m/72-2.25
Ashton Eaton, men’s heptathlon, 6,645 (WR)
Sanya Richards-Ross, women’s 400m, 50.79
Chaunte Lowe, women’s high jump, 1.98m/6-6
Justin Gatlin, men’s 60m, 6.46
Bernard Lagat, men’s 3,000m, 7:41.44
Aries Merritt, men’s 60m hurdles, 7.44
Brittney Reese, women’s long jump, 7.23m/23-8.75 (AR)
Will Claye, men’s triple jump, 17.70m/58-1
Men’s 4x400m, Frankie Wright, Calvin Smith, Manteo Mitchell, Gil Roberts, 3:03.94
Janay DeLoach, women’s long jump, 6.98m/22-10.75
Christian Taylor, men’s triple jump, 17.63m/57-10.25
Women’s 4x400m, Leslie Cole, Natasha Hastings, Jernail Hayes, Sanya Richards-Ross, 3:28.79
Natasha Hastings, women’s 400m, 51.82
Brad Walker, men’s pole vault, 5.80m/19-0.25
Michelle Carter, women’s shot put, 19.58/64-3
Tianna Madison, women’s 60m, 7.09
Erica Moore, women’s 800m, 1:59.97
John Moon - Team USA’s men’s coach
“Going into the championships I gave the team a challenge of 17 medals. Some people might have thought that was foolish with such a young team. But we came here and got 18 medals. We sent a message that we are ready for London. I’m proud of this team and it was a team effort. Of all of the big stars here to come out with that many medals in great. They came to the challenge. A lot of these kids will be in London.”
On team captain Bernard Lagat: “He is a true captain and a leader. He hurt his ankle in the prelims and we didn’t think he was going to run. But he came to us and said he was running. That is motivation. That is him showing you how it’s done.”
Rahn Sheffield - Team USA women’s coach
“I was very please. We had a young team and we were able to come through. They had challenges and I couldn’t be more proud. The U.S. always has a good tradition. Today was an example of symbolic footsteps. We walked in the same footsteps as the great athletes in the past.”
On team captain Sanya Richards-Ross: “What can I say? She was there when we needed her. She is an outstanding performer and an outstanding human being. She pulled that relay through in the highest way.”
Bernard Lagat - men’s 3,000m, team captain
“We are finally here and I finally defended my World Indoor title. When I started training in November people kept asking me if I was going to Turkey. I kept saying I was training for Turkey. I prepared myself well. There is only one man to win three World Indoor titles in the 3,000m and that is Haile Gebreselassie. I wanted to equal that. The race played out well for me. In the prelims I put myself in the middle and could not get out. This race is different. The guys went fast and that suited me. The is the best World Indoor field I have ever seen. To beat these guys I’m in a good position. This is a good path to the Olympics. The team made me captain and I wanted to run like I was a captain. I kept asking, ‘what can I do to help the team?’”
Sanya Richards-Ross - women’s 4x400m, team captain
“It was a good race and I knew we were going to compete. I didn’t know exactly how close things were. There was no doubt that I was going to be running this relay. I would never let my team down. I was so honored to be chosen as captain. I just wanted to do my best. I feel bad that we couldn’t pull it out. We are definitely going to get it back in London. This has been a hard week. Warming up it definitely felt like a hard week of training.”
Aries Merritt - men’s 60m hurdles
“I feel good. It was a good race and I had a good start. After my start I knew I had to keep running. Now going into the outdoor season I just have to stay focused. My chances of making the team in London are as good as any ones. My next step is to train hard for the Trials. I had an amazing indoor year and I hope to carry it over.”
Will Claye - men’s triple jump
“Today this is much better. Warming up watching Brittney (Reese) and Janay (DeLoach) jumping got me so excited. Seeing everyone else do well was great. I thank God for all of this and that is where I get all my motivation. The jumps in the U.S. are coming back. Plenty of guys are jumping far. They are good guys in college and Dwight (Phillips) hasn’t even jumped yet this year.”
Brittney Reese - women’s long jump
“It feels good. I wanted to go out and chase the American record and I got the American record and the World Championships record. I’m a real competitor. When I saw that Janay (DeLoach) hit that jump I geared up and went for it. All week my coach told me to trust it. I trusted it and I pulled it off. I’m glad we had the chance to go 1-2. Once I saw Janay jump I knew I had to do it. Can’t help but feel good with an American record.”
Janay DeLoach - women’s long jump
“This is amazing. I am so excited. I have worked my butt off. I nailed that last jump. I asked myself before that jump, ‘what do I have?’ I got the silver and it feels so good. It is so great for Team USA to go 1-2 in this. I hope we can stay consistent and I hope we can do it again.”
Christian Taylor - men’s triple jump
“I came out and got a PB so I’m happy. Nothing shocked me. I’m happy Will came out and jumped well. This is great to do. My dad came through and it was great to have him here. This is a huge personal best for me and I am blessed to be able to do that. It feels great.”
Tianna Madison - women’s 60m
“This was a good way to end my indoor season. Outdoors is next for me. This is going to help me work on my speed for the long jump.”
Erica Moore - women’s 800m
“It was terrifying. I knew they would be coming. The problem is that I feel comfortable at that fast pace. It might not have been the best move, but I wouldn’t change it now. I didn’t think I had a chance to medal. I thought I could get out of the prelims. This was 100 times harder than the prelims. It tells me that I can run two-minutes comfortably.”
Jesse Williams - men’s high jump
“This is definitely motivation for the outdoor season. I’m not disappointed in my performance at all because I was so close to winning the thing. I really felt I could get a couple of more bars. So that’s encouraging and is motivational knowing I could have win. I will have two months until my first Diamond League meet and I will be ready to go for that.”
Sara Hall - women’s 3,000m
“It wasn’t quite the race I was hoping for. I didn’t quite have it in the final, but I had never made the final before. The is the first time at a World Indoor Championships that I haven’t gotten sick. I found a way of keeping my immune system strong over the long trip. This is a good stepping point for the Olympics.”
Jackie Areson - women’s 3,000m
“This was all new to me. I felt that just because it was the World Championships I would treat every race as a race. The racing tactics here are different. They are way more aggressive. I’m in good shape and it was fun to see where I am at. I ran well. I beat some good runners in the prelims.”
Michael Rutt - men’s 800m
“It was a quick first 100m, but slowed down after that. I wasn’t ready to go with that surge. I have had three races in three days and that was tough. But being sixth in the world I can’t be disappointed with that. It was a learning experience for me. I need to be able to turn it one like that when I need to. It was just a lack of experience. Who knows what will happen outdoors. The U.S. is deep in the 800m. This definitely helped my confidence.”
Lacy Janson - women’s pole vault
“It’s a tough day to jump your PR and come in fifth. I had a good day. Friday they told me I was going to be here and we started scrambling to find flights. I got here and had time to adjust. I get better every time. The track is very fast and it felt good. It is so much fun to hear all of the people screaming. Every good jump gives you confidence. Every year I am feeling better.”
Mary Saxer - women’s pole vault
“It was really fun to take in a new experience. Even though there were some veteran competitors here I have competed against a lot of them in meets before so I was comfortable. There is a lot I can take away from the whole experience. It is a lot of what I had expected.”