Athing Mu wins 800m thriller, world records fall, U.S. wins most track worlds medals ever

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Athing Mu‘s victory by eight hundredths of a second in the 800m highlighted a three-gold-medal final day of the world track and field championships for the U.S., which broke the record for most total medals at a worlds.

Nigerian Tobi Amusan (100m hurdles) and Swede Mondo Duplantis (pole vault) also broke world records Sunday.

Mu and the U.S. men’s and women’s 4x400m relays won on the last day of the 10-day meet in Eugene, Oregon, the first outdoor worlds to be held in the U.S.

In all, the U.S. earned five medals on Sunday to finish with 33, breaking the record of 31 medals won by East Germany in 1987. Its 13 gold medals are one shy of the record that the U.S. holds from 2005, 2007 and 2019.

Notably, the retiring Allyson Felix earned a records-extending 20th career world championships medal and 14th gold for her participation in Saturday’s preliminary heats of the women’s 4x400m.

Sydney McLaughlin anchored the final quartet with a split of 47.91 seconds, making her the seventh-fastest relay performer in history and second-fastest in the last 33 years behind Felix. It could be a sign of things to come as McLaughlin, who smashed her world record in the 400m hurdles on Friday, may move full-time to the flat 400m.

Mu became the first American woman to win a world 800m title, a year after becoming the second American woman to win an Olympic 800m title. She barely held off surging Brit Keely Hodgkinson, the Olympic silver medalist, to her inside over the last 100 meters. Mu is undefeated in outdoor 800m races dating to 2019. On Her Turf has more on the women’s 800m here.

“Today was kind of a rough day for me,” said Mu, who in Tokyo won by a more comfortable .67 of a second. “I just physically wasn’t where I would like to be. I just didn’t feel my best.”

Mu, at 20, became the youngest woman to own Olympic and world titles in an individual track and field event in history. The only younger man to do it was Kirani James of Grenada in the 400m in 2011 and 2012.

TRACK WORLDS: Results

Also Sunday, Amusan ran the two fastest women’s 100m hurdles times in history, though only one counted for a world record. More on Amusan here. Duplantis capped the meet by breaking his own pole vault world record, clearing 6.21 meters (20 feet, 4 inches).

“I did not touch it [the bar], so that gives you confidence that you can go higher,” said Duplantis, one of only two men to pole vault higher than 20 feet outdoors (Sergey Bubka).

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen added a world 5000m title to his Olympic 1500m crown, taking the lead with 900 meters left and pulling away in the final 200. American Grant Fisher was in third coming around the last curve, stumbled — could have been clipped by another runner — and dropped to sixth.

Ingebrigtsen wants to run the 1500m and 5000m at the Olympics, but ran solely the 1500m in Tokyo because the events overlapped. The 2024 Olympic track and field schedule has not been published, though Ingebrigtsen said before worlds that he petitioned for the events to be separated and that it was rejected.

Kenya finished worlds without a gold medal in any of the men’s and women’s 5000m, 10,000m, marathons and 3000m steeplechases for the first time since the first worlds in 1983.

World record holder Kevin Mayer of France earned his second world title in the decathlon, a day after Olympic gold medalist Damian Warner of Canada pulled up with a leg injury in the 400m. Mayer earned silver medals at the last two Olympics and has a home Games in two years in Paris.

Zach Ziemek took bronze to become the first American medalist in the decathlon since Ashton Eaton retired after his second Olympic title in 2016.

German Malaika Mihambo followed her Olympic gold by repeating as world champion in the long jump, edging Olympic bronze medalist Ese Brume of Nigeria by 10 centimeters.

The track and field season continues with the resumption of the Diamond League circuit with a meet in Poland on Aug. 6, with early commits including Duplantis and world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica.

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