By Jonathan Gault
August 6, 2017
LONDON — For someone who never works on leans in practice, Tori Bowie sure is good at them.
For the second night in a row, an American upset a Jamaican in the 100-meter final at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in come-from-behind fashion, with Bowie playing the role of Justin Gatlin in taking down Jamaica’s heavily-favored Olympic champion Elaine Thompson. But it wasn’t Thompson that Bowie had to be concerned about on this night; instead, it was a diminutive sprinter from the Ivory Coast, 5-foot-2.5-inch Marie-Josée Ta Lou, whom Bowie beat at the line by .01 thanks to a perfectly-timed dip at the line that ended with her tumbling to the track.
“Never have I worked on a lean,” Bowie said after the race, still sporting the American flag bandana she wore during the race. “It just happened naturally. I’m telling you, it just comes from instinct. It just comes from just wanting it so bad.”
Ta Lou did not lean, instead running straight through the line, and though she was overjoyed with silver, she knew that gold was there for the taking.
“If I dip, I have gold medal,” Ta Lou said.
Bowie’s win completed the first weekend of these world championships, one in which the Americans reclaimed the sprint crowns after nearly a decade of Jamaican dominance. From 2008 to 2016, Jamaica claimed every global 100m title but one, with American Carmelita Jeter‘s win in Daegu in 2011 the lone exception. But in the span of 25 hours, the U.S. wrested back both 100m titles and earned its first sweep of the 100 titles since 2005.
Overall, it was a solid day for Team USA, with four medals overall, but Bowie’s was the only gold. There can be no complaint about Amy Cragg‘s bronze in the marathon, an entirely unexpected medal against a field that, on paper, saw Cragg overmatched. But the Americans were hoping for gold in both of Sunday’s field event finals, the men’s shot put and women’s pole vault, and had to settle for silver in both. In the shot put, heavy favorite Ryan Crouser, the 2016 Olympic champion, had an off night and could only manage fifth as he suffered his first defeat on the year, although he did have one foul throw that would have won the competition. After a big foul on his final throw, Joe Kovacs had to settle for silver for the second year in a row as the victory went to New Zealand’s Tom Walsh, the only man to eclipse 22 meters in the competition. In the pole vault, Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris sailed through 4.75 meters without a miss, leaving just Morris and her rival Katerina Stefanidi, the Greek Olympic champion, to battle it out for gold once again. But Morris could go no higher while Stefanidi cleared 4.82 and, eventually, a national record/world leader of 4.91 to earn her second straight global title and once again relegate Morris to silver.
Results and video interviews below.
Women’s 100: Bowie upsets Thompson to win U.S.’s first women’s 100 gold since 2005
Last year Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson trounced the field in Rio to win the women’s 100 in 10.71 and after tonight’s semifinal round, in which Thompson led all qualifiers with a 10.84, she seemed set to repeat the feat. In Rio last year, Thompson “only” ran 10.88 in her semi, and that was with a +0.6 wind. Her 10.84 tonight actually came into a slight headwind (-0.2).
Had Thompson repeated that performance in the final, she would have won the gold medal, but like Bolt, she had a rough start (her .200 reaction time was the worst in the field) and the extra gear that has allowed her to separate for the last two years was absent as she broke form midway through the race, costing her any chance at the win. The defeat was her first in a 100-meter final since September 2015.
Instead, it was Ta Lou who looked to be on her way to victory until Bowie’s late heroics created a finish so close that neither woman knew who had won immediately after the race, leaving it to the scoreboard to announce the winner.
Results — Final (Semifinal results here)
|1||4317||Tori BOWIE||USA||10.85 SB||0.182|
|2||3772||Marie-Josée TA LOU||CIV||10.86 PB||0.180|
It’s been a long trip to the top of the world for Tori Bowie
Though Bowie sprinted occasionally in college at Southern Miss, she was primarily a long jumper, sweeping the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles in that event in 2011. She only took up the 100 seriously as a senior in 2012, but even then she did not advance to the NCAA final, graduating college with a PR of 11.28.
Bowie said that back in college, she could never have imagined what transpired tonight.
“Way back then? Heck no,” Bowie said.
After pursuing both the sprints and the jumps during her first two years out of college, Bowie decided to focus on the sprints entirely in 2015 and since then she’s rapidly progressed to the ranks of the global elite in the 100, taking bronze at Worlds in 2015, silver at the Olympics in 2016 and gold tonight.
Looking ahead, Bowie is entered in the 200 and the 4×100 and confirmed that she will definitely run the relay, but may not do the 200 (where she was 3rd at the Olympics last year and at USAs this year). After USAs, Bowie said she would not run both events at Worlds, and though she reversed course by entering both in London, it’s not 100% that she returns for the first round on Tuesday.
“Honestly, I’m still not looking forward to the double,” Bowie said. “My team and I, we still haven’t made a decision.”
MB: TORI MF BOWIE
Marie-Josée Ta Lou cried tears of happiness after taking silver though she admitted, “If I dip, I have gold medal”
With 10 meters to go, it looked as if Ta Lou would be the 2017 world champion, but it was not to be. But despite missing out on gold by such a tiny margin, she was overjoyed to have medalled after taking 4th in both the 100 and 200 in Rio last year. In addition, Ta Lou battled a combination of injuries and personal problems this winter that had her begging her coach to allow her to end her season in February. Now Ta Lou is glad he made her stick with it.
Ta Lou was candid in admitting that she did not expect to medal tonight.
“I didn’t expect to have a medal because all the girls are talented,” Ta Lou said. “There is Elaine Thompson, there is Schippers, there is Murielle Ahoure, there is Tori Bowie.”
And while Ta Lou was grateful for any medal, she admitted that it would have been a different color with a lean tonight.
“I have a medal, if I dip, I have gold medal, but I think God want me to have silver medal, so I just take it and I just thank God for that.”
Elaine Thompson was at a loss to explain her poor showing in the final
Thompson said that she was fully healthy,
“Honestly, I don’t know what happened. [I have to] watch the replay,” Thompson said. “I stumbled and I tried to get it back.”
Thompson also said that she threw up in the call room before tonight’s race, but added that that is not uncommon for her as she has done it before races and practices before. Thompson said she does not think that it affected her.
Men’s shot put: Tom Walsh wins it as Ryan Crouser falters and Kovacs fouls on a big final attempt
It’s been a great year in the men’s shot put, with four men (Walsh, Crouser, Kovacs and Tomas Stanek) eclipsing 22 meters in a total of 14 competitions (there have been more than 14 22-meter throws as some of those competitions included series with multiple 22-meter tosses). But tonight, only one man could get beyond that mark, and that was New Zealand’s Thomas Walsh, who avenged his Olympic defeat to Americans Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs last summer by winning his first world title.
Walsh took the lead in round 2 with a throw of 21.64 and would not relinquish it, improving to 21.75 in round 3 and cementing the win with a 22.03 in round 4. On a night where many athletes struggled for form, Walsh was clearly the best with no fouls and five throws of 21.63 or further.
Kovacs came close with a big foul on his final attempt; Kovacs said the officials measured it and told him it would have been enough for gold. But Kovacs was judged to have fouled, as his foot grazed the top of the toe board.
Crouser, undefeated in 2017 until tonight, had his worst performance of the year at the worst possible time. In six of his previous seven competitions, his winning mark would have been good enough for gold tonight. But he could only manage a best throw of 21.20 meters and as a result finished in fifth place.
Afterwards, Crouser said he was just off tonight. He said it happens occasionally and it’s like a golfer losing their swing.
|POS||BIB||ATHLETE||MARK||DETAIL||ATTEMPT 1||ATTEMPT 2||ATTEMPT 3||ATTEMPT 4||ATTEMPT 5||ATTEMPT 6|
Tom Walsh never doubted himself
Walsh revealed that he suffered a groin injury that caused him to cut short his final practice session on Friday, but it didn’t end up making much of a difference as he threw a season’s best of 22.14 in qualifying yesterday before getting out over 22 meters once again tonight.
“I knew what type of shape I’m in and I just thought that I was going to get him one of these days,” Walsh said. “I managed to get him a few times after the Olympics last year when no one thought that anyone could. And so that’s what the confidence I had to take him off the top. You know, he’s had a hell of a season, and he’s just had one of those off days. And we all have those off days. And he’s just picked the wrong day for him and that’s a bit of a shame, but that’s sport.”
Joe Kovacs’ foul: what could have been
Kovacs was a couple of inches from a second straight world title, but it wasn’t about the distance — his final throw was far enough — but rather his feet. Kovacs was called for a foul on his final attempt and he was furious afterwards, berating the official who called the infraction. Once the heat of competition died down, Kovacs apologized for his actions but was still hopeful that the call could be overturned. Kovacs said that usually when he fouls in this manner (grazing the top of the toe board), he does so with his heel but he knew he got his heel down on his final attempt. However, Kovacs’ toes may have hit it instead, resulting in a foul.
— LetsRun.com (@letsrundotcom) August 6, 2017
Ryan Crouser interview
Women’s pole vault: Stefanidi outduels Morris once again
Katerina Stefanidi and Sandi Morris were clearly the class of the field tonight as every other woman had been eliminated from the competition before either of them recorded a miss. Morris was the first to break, missing her first attempt at 4.82 meters, and after Stefanidi cleared that on her first attempt, Morris passed up to 4.89 to try to come from behind. It was not to be, however, as she missed both attempts at that bar, handing the win to Stefanidi, who went on to set a new national record/world leader of 4.91.
Sandi Morris interview
Talk about all of day 3 on our fan forum: Official 2017 Worlds Day 3 Discussion Thread – Marathons, Women’s 100 Final & More