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  • Writer's pictureEmma Treptow

World Athletics Championships: A Lot of History Was Made

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

The World Athletics Championships wrapped up in Eugene, Oregon one week ago, this recap brings you through the meet and showcases some of the incredible women to compete in Eugene. The World Athletics Championships finished with the United States topping the leaderboards with a historic 33 medals. This is the most medals ever won by a single country in World Championships history. Team USA won 13 gold medals, 9 silver, and 11 bronze. Behind them was Ethiopia with 10 medals in total with four gold medals, four silver, and two bronze. Jamaica and Kenya also both had ten total medals with two gold medals for both countries.

On the second day of the competition, the shotput competition wrapped up with Chase Ealey winning gold for the United States. Ealey threw 20.49 meters on her first throw which shot her up to the top of the standings and was enough to hold her there for the rest of the competition.

Chase Ealey of the USA celebrates her gold medal on July 16, 2022, at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Aleksandra Szmigiel

Ealey is the first American woman to win a world title in shot put. She was also the United States’ first gold medalist in the World Championships. With this gold medal, Ealey kept up her undefeated run since May 2022, winning five competitions since May 21, 2022. Ealey was competing against the Olympic Gold Medalist, Lijiao Gong of China. Gong finished with a throw of 20.39, falling ten centimeters short of Ealey’s first throw. Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands and Sarah Mitton of Canada tied with a throw of 19.77 meters but Schilder won bronze on the tie-break.

GOLD: Chase Ealey (USA)

SILVER: Lijiao Gong (CHN)

BRONZE: Jessica Schilder (NED)

Brooke Andersen and Janee’ Kassanavoid made more history on the field in the hammer throw for Team USA on day three. Andersen and Kassanavoid both on the podium for the States marked the first time two American women were on the podium in the women’s hammer throw. Andersen started strong, throwing 74.81 on her first attempt but it was her final throws that got her the gold. Her fourth, fifth, and sixth throws were recorded at 77.42, 77.56, and 78.96 respectively. Her 78.96 meters isn’t even her personal best but it was enough by almost three meters to beat out her competition. Canada’s Camryn Rodgers threw 75.52 meters on her third attempt and despite her final attempts being shorter, she was able to hang onto silver. Kassanavoid threw 74.86 on her second attempt and was only centimeters shorter on her other attempts. But Kassanavoid too was able to hang on to become the first Native American woman to medal at World Championships. Kassanavoid said in an interview with World Athletics that “We're [Kassanavoid and Andersen] super best friends, so each of our journeys are truly special and to be here on American soil, on native land, is something super special for me.”

GOLD: Brooke Andersen (USA)

SILVER: Camryn Rodgers (CAN)

BRONZE: Janee’ Kassanavoid (USA)

In the final competition of day three, the 100-meter sprint headlined the day. The Jamaican women showed their dominance in the event, sweeping the podium as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce set a new championship record with a time of 10.67. Fraser-Pryce is one of the most decorated sprinters ever and she continues to add to her legacy as she won her fifth world 100m title. She was followed by Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah with times of 10.73 and 10.81 respectively. Jackson’s 10.73 was a personal best for her. Thompson-Herah claimed her first 100m medal as she rounded out the Jamaican sweep. Jamaica also swept the 100m sprint in the 2020 (2021) Tokyo Olympics with the same three athletes one year. Their dominance of the 100-meter sprint is simply remarkable.

GOLD: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM)

SILVER: Shericka Jackson (JAM)

BRONZE: Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM)

The women’s marathon had another championship record set as Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia led the pack. Gebreslase was chasing a 17-year-old world-championship record that had been set by Paula Radcliffe of Britain. The pace of this marathon ebbed and flowed as they started at a pace that was nearly five minutes faster than the record. The pace ultimately slowed and surged again but Gebreslase was still able to break the championship record by two minutes.

Gotytom Gebreslase crosses the finish line to win the marathon on July 18, 2022, during the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mike Segar

With a time of 2:18:11, Gebreslase bested Kenya’s Judith Jeptum Korir who finished with a 2:18:20, a personal best for Korir. Radcliffe’s record stood at 2:20:57 and all three of the medal winners were able to beat it. Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel rounded out the podium with a 2:20:18. This had to be one of the fastest world championship marathons in years despite it being run without any of the Olympic medalists from Tokyo 2020. Olympic gold medalist, Peres Jepchirchir withdrew due to a hip injury just a week before the championships began. Olympic bronze medalist, Molly Seidel withdrew approximately three weeks prior to the competition, citing a nagging hip injury, her ongoing process to receive a therapeutic use exemption for ADHD medication, and a focus on her mental health in an Instagram post. Current American record holder, Keira D’Amato took Seidel’s place for Team USA. D’Amato was with fellow American runners, Sara Hall and Emma Bates. Hall was the top American finisher with a fifth-place finish and a season-best time of 2:22:10. Bates was about a minute behind in seventh, finishing in 2:23:18 and recorded a personal best. D’Amato brought up the rear for Team USA as she finished in eighth with a 2:23:34. Defending champion, Ruth Chepngetich did not finish the race.

GOLD: Gotytom Gebraslase (ETH)

SILVER: Judith Jeptum Korir (KEN)

BRONZE: Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (ISR)

Yulimar Rojas added yet another gold medal to her collection as she won the triple jump, marking her third consecutive World Championships gold medal. Venezuela’s Rojas is last year’s Olympic gold medalist. She was able to clinch the gold medal with her second-round jump of 15.47 meters which is the current world-leading distance. Shenieka Ricketts of Jamaica jumped 14.89 on her first attempt and it was enough to get her the silver medal. The 14.89 was Rickett’s season-best attempt. Team USA jumper, Tori Franklin was able to snatch the bronze medal as she jumped 14.72 on her fifth attempt. She finished third by only 0.02 centimeters but this bronze medal finish makes her the first American woman to ever medal in the triple jump.

GOLD: Yulimar Rojas (VEN)

SILVER: Shenieka Ricketts (JAM)

BRONZE: Tori Franklin (USA)

The heptathlon is one of the most challenging events as athletes compete in seven different events over two days. The events include the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw, and 800 meters. Points are given to athletes based on their finish in each specific event and the final podium is decided based on cumulative points.

Gold medalist Nafissatou Thiam stands with silver medalist Anouk Vetter (right) and bronze medalist Anna Hall (left) during the medal ceremony of the heptathlon on July 18, 2022, at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium finished the competition with 6947 points, 80 points in front of the next athlete. Thiam wrapped up the gold medal after finishing fifth and collecting 921 points in the 800 meters. She started strong with a fifth-place finish in the 100 meters hurdles, first in the high jump, and second in the shot put. Silver medalist, Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands took the lead after the javelin event with 6045 points but finished eleventh in the 800 meters, bringing her total to 6867 points in the competition. Vetter’s 6867 points set a new national record for the Netherlands as she won another medal. Anna Hall, who competes for Florida in the NCAA, finished third for the United States. Hall was the youngest woman in the field at 21 years old. Hall hit her personal best in points and also broke multiple of her own personal bests throughout the seven events. With 6755 points, Hall became the first American woman to win a medal in the heptathlon since 2001 as well as broke the longstanding collegiate heptathlon record that was set by Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1985.

GOLD: Nafissatou Thiam (BEL)

SILVER: Anouk Vetter (NED)

BRONZE: Anna Hall (USA)

Valarie Allman became one of the many history makers for Team USA at this World Championships. With a throw of 68.30 on her third attempt of the discus throw, Allman pushed herself into third place for these World Championships. Despite having thrown over 70 meters this year, Allman can still be proud of her performance as she became the first American woman to get on the podium in the discus throw at World Championships. In front of her was Bin Feng of China after hitting 69.12 meters on her first attempt which was enough to get her the gold. The 69.12 was a personal best for Feng and the gold medal was her first World Championships medal. In the silver spot was Sandra Perkovic’ of Croatia who threw a season best of 68.45 meters. Perkovic hit 68.45 on her second attempt and had to hope that it was enough to see her through.

GOLD: Bin Feng (CHN)

SILVER: Sandra Perkovic (CRO)

BRONZE: Valarie Allman (USA)

Shericka Jackson finally has her gold medal. With the second fastest 200-meter time ever and a new championship record, Jackson finally broke through. Running 21.45, Jackson bested out fellow Jamaican sprinter, Shelly-Ann Frase-Pryce who won gold earlier in the Championships in the 100-meter sprint. Jackson missed the Olympic 200-meter semifinals last August but this win made it all worth it as last year wasn’t her moment but she finally got her time to shine. Fraser-Pryce finished with a season-best of 21.81 while Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith rounded out the top three with a 22.02.

GOLD: Shericka Jackson (JAM)

SILVER: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM)

BRONZE: Dina Asher-Smith (GBR)

Kelsey-Lee Barber won her second World Championship gold medal as she hit 66.91 meters on her three attempts in the javelin throw. Barber finished third in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after throwing 64.56. The Australian jumped over 61 meters only two other times this year, first in the Pre-World Championships Invitational in Canada and the qualifiers for the final at the World Athletics Championships. She improved her height by over 5 meters and is once again the World Champion. Kara Winger of the United States was competing in her last ever World Championships and before this meet, she had not won a medal. But Winger’s final throw of the competition secured that she would be on the podium. She had thrown 61.96 on the second attempt and 62.17 on her fifth attempt but improved to 64.05 on her sixth and final attempt. This beat out Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi’s final throw of 63.27 and gave Winger her first World Championship medal in her final World Championships. Kitaguchi’s 63.27 was enough to keep her in medal position, winning her bronze.

GOLD: Kelsey-Lee Barber (AUS)

SILVER: Kara Winger (USA)

BRONZE: Haruka Kitaguchi (JPN)

Shaunae Miller-Uibo has completed her collection of gold medals. The Olympic champion finally became a World Champion as she dominated the 400-meter final, finishing with a time of 49.11 seconds. The time of 49.11 seconds is the current world-leading time. This was Miller-Uibo’s first senior world outdoor gold medal but she has won World titles in every other age group. Miller-Uibo was followed by Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic who ran a 49.60. Sada Williams of Barbados finished behind Paulino with a 49.75. Williams became the first woman from Barbados to win a World Championships medal while she also set a new national record.

GOLD: Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH)

SILVER: Marileidy Paulino (DOM)

BRONZE: Sada Williams (BAR)

There are not enough words in the English language to describe Sydney McLaughlin especially after she did it again in the 400-meter hurdles. McLaughlin broke her own world record, which she set just weeks before, in spectacular fashion.

Sydney McLaughlin smiles at Legend the Bigfoot, the mascot of the World Athletics Championships, after breaking the world record again on July 22, 2022, at the World Athletic Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Photo courtesy of @Legend_Bigfoot /Twitter

McLaughlin’s race style is usually to control the backstretch and then put the hammer down in the final 200 meters but in this race, McLaughlin went all in on the backstretch, having caught Dalilah Muhammad even before the final turn. Muhammad had the advantage of the starting blocks due to the stagger but McLaughlin was able to make that up just 200 meters into the race. For example, when most of the other hurdlers hit the final turn, she had a nearly 10-meter lead on the next athlete. McLaughlin broke her previous world record by almost a second, clocking in at 50.68 as she became the first woman to ever break 51 seconds. Behind McLaughlin, Femke Bol of the Netherlands ran a 52.27, equalizing her season best. Dalilah Muhammad finished in third place with a time of 53.13, marking her season-best time.

GOLD: Sydney McLaughlin (USA)

SILVER: Femke Bol (NED)

BRONZE: Dalilah Muhammad (USA)

Athing Mu is one of the reasons people are watching distance events in the United States. For so long the US struggled to even get people into the finals of long-distance track events and now Mu is winning world titles. Athing Mu, who competes for Texas A&M in the NCAA, has quickly risen to the top in the 800 meters, conquering the world in the last few years. Mu is the reigning Olympic Champion after winning the first USA Olympic gold in the 800 in 53 years in Tokyo at the age of 19. Having not lost an outdoor meet since 2019, Mu is now the first American woman to ever medal in the World Championship’s 800-meter event. Unlike some of her other races in previous years, Mu had to battle to the line in this race as Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain challenged her on the final straightaway. Mu had a lead heading into the final turn, and despite Hodgkinson challenging her on the inside of the track, Mu hung on to the lead for the title of World Champion. Hodgkinson was the silver medalist in Tokyo and is once again the silver medalist behind Athing Mu, running a season’s best time of 1:56.38. Mu’s final time of 1:56.30 is the current world-leading time. Mary Moraa of Kenya finished in third place to collect bronze as she ran 1:56.71.

GOLD: Athing Mu (USA)

SILVER: Keely Hodgkinson (GBR)

BRONZE: Mary Moraa (KEN)

The 100-meter hurdles race was one to remember as the controversy around it was the main topic of conversation. Tobi Amusan of Nigeria, eventually World Champion, broke the previous world record by 0.08 seconds, running a 12.12 in the semifinals.

Tobi Amusan stands next to the timing board with her world record time displayed in the 100m hurdles semi-final on July, 24, 2022, at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Photo courtesy of CNN

Later in the day, during the final, she clocked in at 12.06 but due to excessive tailwind, this time will not count for a world record. The wind was at +.9 meters/second which is well below the normal limit of two meters/second. Before the semifinals, the fastest Amusan had run was a 12.40 during the first rounds at worlds. But as she took .08 seconds off American Kendra Harrison’s world record of 12.20, she recorded the largest time drop for a world record in the 100-meter hurdles in 42 years. People were skeptical of the times and the timing system as four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson sent this tweet:

But the world records, personal bests, and national records all stand and Johnson went on to clarify that his job as a commentator is to do just that, comment on the situation in front of him. He said via CNN, “In questioning the times of 28 athletes (not 1 athlete) by wondering if the timing system malfunctioned, I was attacked, accused of racism, and of questioning the talent of an athlete I respect and predicted to win. Unacceptable. I move on.” Britany Anderson of Jamaica ran 12.23 as did Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico but Anderson edged out Camacho-Quinn with the tiebreak, therefore Anderson collected silver and Camacho-Quinn bronze.

GOLD: Tobi Amusan (NGR)

SILVER: Britany Anderson (JAM)

BRONZE: Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PUR)


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