Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce wins 100m; U.S. runner loses 10,000m bronze with early celebration

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Molly Huddle raised arms in the air before they crossed the finish line in separate races at the World Championships on Monday night.

Only one of them won a medal.

Fraser-Pryce becoming the first woman to win three World titles in the 100m and Huddle prematurely celebrating and losing a bronze medal to a countrywoman in the 10,000m highlighted action at the Bird’s Nest.

In the 100m final, Fraser-Pryce clocked 10.76 seconds with yellow flowers on her forehead and long green hair running down her back. She raised her right arm and index finger with a few meters left and victory locked up. She wished she ran faster.

“I get tired of 10.7s, honestly,” Fraser-Pryce, who has run in the 10.7s in her career 11 times but never faster than 10.70, said with a laugh on the BBC. “Hopefully, my next race, I’ll get it together.”

She will share the podium with the Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers (silver in 10.81, national record) and American Tori Bowie (bronze in 10.86, full results here).

Fraser-Pryce, like countryman Usain Bolt, owns 2009, 2013 and 2015 World titles and 2008 and 2012 Olympic titles in the 100m. The biggest separator between Fraser-Pryce and Bolt (aside from the hair and Bolt’s 17-inch height advantage) are world records, of which Fraser-Pryce has none.

Bowie’s rise to a Worlds 100m medal came in the last 18 months. The soft-spoken Mississippian competed in the long jump at the 2014 World Indoor Championships and, by the end of 2014, was the world’s fastest woman in the 100m for that year.

“Of course, we all want the gold medal, but it’s a stepping stone,” Bowie, with a purple streak in her hair and in her first World Outdoor Championships, told Lewis Johnson on Universal Sports. “I’ll come back even better next year.”

Fraser-Pryce entered Worlds as the fastest woman this year (10.74) and became an even bigger favorite for the final after she sprinted a comfortable 10.82 to win her semifinal earlier Monday, easing up considerably for her final few strides.

Also in that semifinal, American English Gardner was sixth, missing the final despite coming into the meet as the second fastest woman in the world this year.

For the first time ever, fewer than two U.S. women made the Worlds 100m final.

World Track and Field Championships: Five men’s events to watch | Women’s events | Broadcast schedule

About 30 minutes before Fraser-Pryce’s early celebration, American Molly Huddle lost a bronze medal in the 10,000m after she raised both of her arms before the finish line, easing up in her final few strides.

Countrywoman Emily Infeld, running her third 10,000m ever, passed Huddle on her inside to nab the bronze by .09 of a second.

“It’s painful to watch,” Huddle told Johnson on Universal Sports. “Emily slipped on the inside as I eased up a little bit. She had this once-in-a-lifetime moment. I feel like it kind of slipped through my fingers. … The Olympics are typically a hard race, not a tactical one, so this probably won’t ever come around again.”

Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot won the race in 31:41.31, after sweeping the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2011 Worlds and missing 2013 due to pregnancy. She was followed by Ethiopian Gelete Burka for silver (31:41.77) and Infeld for bronze (31:43.49) in her Worlds debut.

“I just tried to run all the way through the line,” Infeld told Johnson on Universal Sports, adding to media later, “I don’t think [Huddle] knew I was there. I hate to take a medal away from a teammate and fellow American. … I don’t mean to snipe someone or do that. I feel like that’s kind of like a [expletive] way to get it, so I feel kind of bad now.”

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Evan Jager finished sixth in the 3000m steeplechase despite coming in as a hope to win the first U.S. medal ever in the event. Kenyans swept places one through four, led by dancing two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi, who won his fourth straight World title.

French Olympic champion and world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie won a non-gold medal at Worlds for the fourth straight time, this time sharing bronze with two other athletes. Canadian Shawn Barber upset Lavillenie for gold with a 5.90-meter clearance.

Colombian Caterine Ibarguen repeated as World triple jump champion with a 14.90-meter leap while wearing long pink socks. No U.S. woman has ever earned an Olympic or Worlds triple jump medal, and none were in Monday’s 12-woman final.

In the 400m semifinals, Grenada Olympic champion Kirani James and defending World champion LaShawn Merritt advanced to Wednesday’s eight-man final.

Czech defending World champion Zuzana Hejnova was the fastest qualifier into Wednesday’s 400m hurdles final. NCAA champion Shamier Little, the fastest woman in the world this year, was the slowest of the eight qualifiers into the final.

After her semifinal, Little watched the third and last semifinal clutching a railing, hoping the third-place finisher wouldn’t beat her time and knock her out of the final. She was in tears rolling on the track and, later after making the final, speaking with Johnson on Universal Sports.

Little, 20, wears Malcolm X-style glasses and describes herself in her Twitter bio as being athazagoraphobic and a kleptomaniac.

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott failed to qualify for Wednesday’s javelin final. Walcott has dealt with a reported ankle injury this summer.

World Championships: Gatlin in tears after making ‘Bolt-forced error’ in 100m final

Mondo Duplantis, Sandi Morris miss attempts at pole vault records

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Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis and U.S. athlete Sandi Morris took turns attempting world records in the pole vault Wednesday at the Meeting d’Athlétsime Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais meet at Arena Stade Regional in Liévin, France, but both were unable to clear the bar.

Duplantis, aiming to set the world record for third time in February, had no misses leading up to his record attempts. U.S. vaulter Sam Kendricks, who has won the last two world championships, cleared 5.90m but dropped out after one attempt at 5.95m. Duplantis passed on that height, then cleared 6.07m to warm up for his shot at 6.19m, just shy of 20 feet, 3 3/4 inches.

Morris’ attempt to tie Jennifer Suhr‘s world indoor record of 5.03m from 2016 was more of a surprise. Morris holds the U.S. outdoor record at 5.00m but had never done better than 4.95m indoors. She won Wednesday’s competition with a clearance of 4.83m and asked to go immediately to 5.03m, or 16 feet, 6 inches.

Yelena Isinbayeva still holds the outdoor record of 5.06m, set in 2009. Morris is second on the all-time list and is the only athlete other than Isinbayeva or Suhr to clear 5 meters either indoors or outdoors.

In the men’s pole vault, Duplantis’ clearance of 6.18m Feb. 15 in Glasgow is the best vault indoors or outdoors.  Sergey Bubka still has the highest clearance outdoors at 6.14m. Bubka also held the indoor record of 6.15m for more than 20 years, finally losing it to Renaud Lavillenie in 2014. Duplantis cleared 6.17m Feb. 9 in Poland, then added another centimeter last week in Glasgow.

READ: Duplantis raises record in Glasgow

Duplantis, Lavillenie and Bubka are the only vaulters to clear 20 feet. Kendricks cleared 6.06m, or 19-10 1/2, last summer, the highest outdoor clearance by anyone other than Bubka.

Duplantis grew up in Louisiana and attended LSU for one year, setting the NCAA indoor (5.92m) and outdoor (6.00m) before turning pro, though he was upset in the NCAA final by South Dakota junior Chris Nilsen.

Also at Wednesday’s meet:

Ronnie Baker ran 6.49 seconds in the 60m semifinals and lowered that to 6.44 in the final, second only to Christian Coleman this season. Demek Kemp finished second and tied his personal best of 6.50.

Nia Ali and Christina Clemons finished 1-2 in the women’s 60m hurdles with identical times of 7.92. Ali is the reigning world champion and Olympic silver medalist in the 100m hurdles. She also won world indoor titles in 2014 and 2016.

Two Ethiopian runners set the fastest times of the season Samuel Tefera in the 1,500m (3:35.54) and Getnet Wale in the 3,000m (7:32.80). Wale was fourth in the 3,000m steeplechase in the 2019 world championships.

Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, racing in his home country of France, won the 60m hurdles in 7.47, second this season to Grant Holloway‘s 7.38 last week.

The World Athletics Indoor Tour ends Friday in Madrid. The world indoor championships originally scheduled for March in Nanjing, China, have been postponed a year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Susan Dunklee extends decade of surprises for U.S. biathletes

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When Susan Dunklee‘s time held up for second place in Friday’s 7.5km sprint, she became the first U.S. biathlete to win two world championship medals in her career and earned the sixth medal for the U.S. in world biathlon championship history.

Four of those medals have come in the past eight years.

First was Tim Burke, who had gained some fame among biathlon fans with his three World Cup podiums in the 2009-10 season and his relationship with German biathlete Andrea Henkel, who would win two Olympic gold medals and eight world championships before retiring and marrying Burke.

In that season, Burke led the World Cup briefly but faded and didn’t do well in the Olympics. But in 2012-13, he finished 10th in the World Cup overall and ended the American drought in the world championships, finishing second in the individual behind dominant French biathlete Martin Fourcade, who won his 11th non-relay world title Wednesday in the individual.

In 2017, Dunklee became the first U.S. woman to win a non-relay medal, taking the lead in the mass start after quickly knocking down all five targets in the last shooting and holding on for second. She didn’t come out of nowhere, having taken a few World Cup medals. That season, she ranked 10th overall in the World Cup.

Then came the stunner. Lowell Bailey, who had just one World Cup podium in a long career coming into the 2016-17 season, had bib 100 in the individual, a spot usually reserved for non-contenders. But he hit all 20 targets, always important in a race that penalizes athletes one minute per miss, and gutted it out through the last lap to keep a 3.3-second advantage and win the first world championship for a U.S. biathlete.

Like Dunklee, Bailey earned his medal in the midst of a strong season. The individual was won of his four top-10 finishes in the world championships, including a fourth-place finish in the sprint. He wound up eighth overall in the World Cup.

Bailey and Burke each stuck it out to compete in their fourth Olympics in 2018, then crossed the finish line together in their final race at the U.S. championships.

This season is their first in management. Bailey, also a bluegrass musician, is now U.S. Biathlon’s director of high performance. Burke is director of athlete development.

Dunklee, on the other hand, isn’t done. Her results slipped a bit after her 2017 breakthrough, but she has had some top 10s. When she shoots clean, as she did Friday, she’s a contender.

The first U.S. medal was in the first women’s world championship in 1984, when Holly Beatie, Julie Newman and Kari Swenson bronze in 3x5km relay. Swenson also finished fifth in the individual that year and returned to compete in the next two world championships after a harrowing experience in which she was abducted and shot, a story that inspired a film starring Tracy Pollan.

The only other U.S. medal in the world championships before Burke, Bailey and Dunklee was Josh Thompson‘s individual silver in 1987. The only athletes other than Burke, Bailey, Dunklee and Thompson to have World Cup podiums (excluding relays) are Jeremy Teela in 2009 and Clare Egan, who was third in a mass start last spring and is competing in the world championships this year.

U.S. Paralympians broke through with two gold medals on the first day of competition in the 2018 Paralympics.

READ: Kendall Gretsch, Dan Cnossen take gold

Wednesday saw another surprise finish for a U.S. biathlete. Leif Nordgren, whose career-best finish outside the relays is 16th, was the only athlete to go 20-for-20 on the shooting range and placed eighth in the individual.

The championships continue through through Sunday with the single mixed relay on Thursday, the men’s and women’s relays on Saturday, and the men’s and women’s mass starts on Sunday.

WATCH: World biathlon championships TV schedule

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