September 29, 2019
DOHA, Qatar — There were no distance finals on day 3 of the 2019 World Athletics Championships, but there was still plenty of action in a mostly-empty Khalifa International Stadium. Greatness is always on display at the World Championships, but it especially felt that way tonight as three of the sport’s living legends — Allyson Felix, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Christian Taylor — added yet another gold medal to their vast collections.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the GOAT
During the last World Championships, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (SAFP) was in unfamiliar territory. She was thousands of miles away from the World Championships in London at home, nine months pregnant. She watched and cheered for the woman many assumed would assume her mantle as the world’s fastest woman, training partner Elaine Thompson. SAFP cheered so much that immediately after the race she went into labor and the next day her son Zyon was born via c-section. With 10 World and Olympic outdoor gold medals already to her name, many assumed we would never see SAFP atop the sprinting world again.
They were clearly wrong.
Fraser-Pryce ran 10.71 — just .01 off her pb — to win her fourth title in the 100 meters in convincing style ahead of Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, who ran a 10.83 national record for second. With two Olympic golds to go with those four 100m world titles, it seems clear that SAFP is the best female 100-meter of all time.
“She’s absolutely fantastic,” Asher-Smith said. “She’s incredibly experienced and definitely one of the legends and icons of our sport.”
While Fraser-Pryce’s personal best of 10.70 is only tied for fourth all-time, there are questions about some of the times ahead of her on that list. One area in which Fraser-Pryce is second to none is championship success. She’s one of just three women to have won two Olympic titles (and the only one of those three to add a third medal, a bronze in 2016) and the only woman with four world titles.
The latter is particularly impressive considering only one other woman has won even two: notorious doper Marion Jones.
Add in the fact that Fraser-Pryce won this title at age 32, after being relegated to bronze in 2016 and giving birth in 2017, and it ranks among her most impressive accomplishments. She is as good now as she has ever been, and that is the very best of all time. Afterwards, she said she will not run the 200 in Doha, and only focus on the 4×100 as her coach said she still is not back to being 100%. If this wasn’t 100%, the world should be very afraid of SAFP in 2020.
SAFP’s Golden Resume
Year Event Gold Medal Time
2008 Olympics 10.78
2009 Worlds 10.73
2013 Worlds 10.75
2015 Worlds 10.71
2019 Worlds 10.71
SAFP has run in the 10.7s for all of her victories during the last 11 years. Only 3 other women in the world have run under 10.8 in a championship race in that time period: Kerron Stewart in 2009, Carmelita Jeter in 2012, and Elaine Thompson in 2016. Thompson was the only one to beat SAFP, who ran 10.86 in Rio. There has been one constant the past 11 years in women’s sprinting: if SAFP runs her best in the 100m in a championship race, she does not lose.
*SAFP answers a question on whether she is the GOAT here.
|1||Shelly-Ann FRASER-PRYCE||JAM||10.71 WL||0.134|
|2||Dina ASHER-SMITH||GBR||10.83 NR||0.129|
|3||Marie-Josée TA LOU||CIV||10.90||0.171|
|5||Murielle AHOURÉ||CIV||11.02 SB||0.142|
Allyson Felix breaks Usain Bolt’s records for most World Championship golds
Sunday was a night for mothers in Doha as Felix, who gave birth to daughter Camryn just 10 months ago, made some history of her own. By earning her 12th gold medal as part of the winning US team in the inaugural mixed-gender 4x400m relay, Felix broke a tie with Usain Bolt for most golds in the history of the World Championships (it was also her 17th medal overall — extending her own record).
Felix ran leg 2 for a US squad that also included Wil London, Courtney Okolo, and Michael Cherry, and the Americans broke the world record — which had been established just yesterday in the prelims, also by the Americans — by running 3:09.34 to easily defeat runners-up Jamaica and bronze medalists Bahrain.
While both Bolt and Felix earned multiple golds in the relays, Felix relied more heavily on them in her overall total as they accounted for 8 of her 12 golds, compared to 4 of 11 for Bolt.
|Gold medal #||Allyson Felix||Usain Bolt|
|1||200 (2005)||100 (2009)|
|2||200 (2007)||200 (2009)|
|3||4×100 (2007)||4×100 (2009)|
|4||4×400 (2007)||200 (2011)|
|5||200 (2009)||4×100 (2011)|
|6||4×400 (2009)||100 (2013)|
|7||4×100 (2011)||200 (2013)|
|8||4×400 (2011)||4×100 (2013)|
|9||400 (2015)||100 (2015)|
|10||4×100 (2017)||200 (2015)|
|11||4×400 (2017)||4×100 (2015)|
|12||Mixed 4×400 (2019)|
Christian Taylor delivers in the clutch once again
Taylor was in danger of winning any medal in the men’s triple jump as he fouled his first two attempts. But, as he has so many times before, Taylor came through when it counted, leaping out to 17.42 meters in round three, taking the lead with a 17.86 in round four, and securing victory with a 17.92 in round five. He did it all while wearing a pair of custom Nike spikes that paid tribute to Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Taylor was one of the few athletes at this meet to praise the crowd in Doha, applauding the small but vocal section near the triple jump runway.
“The crowd was phenomenal,” Taylor said. “Our side was just rocking.”
(Not all shared his view — Greek pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi said that this was the smallest crowd she has competed in front of all year, including the Greek national champs).
Taylor has been steadily building his own case as GOAT of the triple jump, with the only missing link on his resume the world record of 18.29 meters, which has been held by Great Britain’s Jonathan Edwards since 1995 (Taylor is #2 all-time at 18.21m).
But even without it, Taylor has a case as the GOAT. He has two Olympic titles and now four world titles (including three straight), which is superior to Edwards’ one Olympic and two world titles. If you want to go way back, the Soviet Union’s Viktor Saneyev also has an argument as he won three straight Olympic titles (and a silver at a fourth Games) from 1968 through 1976. He also broke the world record three times, though his pb of 17.44 (set in 1972) pales in comparison to Taylor and Edwards.
Taylor is still eyeing Edwards’ world record.
Will Claye finishes runner-up to Christian Taylor again
While Christian Taylor is clearly the world #1 in the triple jump, the clear #2 (and world leader in 2019) is Will Claye. Overall, Claye is very competitive with Taylor as Taylor has beaten him 27 times and lost 23 times. But in outdoor World Championships, Taylor holds a six to one advantage (with Taylor’s loss coming in 2013 when Teddy Tamgho won, Claye was 3rd, and Taylor 4th). This was Claye’s second straight runner-up finish to Taylor, but prior to that Claye only had two bronzes at Worlds. Claye has his eyes already set on the elusive gold in Tokyo.
Anzhelika Sidorova wins epic pole vault
The other final in the stadium on Sunday was the women’s pole vault, and it was a competition worthy of a World Championships. Entering the meet, no woman had jumped higher than 4.91 meters all year, yet Sidorova — a Russian competing as an authorized neutral athlete — and American World Indoor champ Sandi Morris refused to miss. Both cleared their first five bars to make it through 4.90 unscathed (no one else cleared that height). Earning the win would either require a world leader or a jump-off.
It looked as if we were heading the jump-off route as both women missed their first two attempts at 4.95, but Sidorova made her third while Morris missed hers. That settled things as Sidorova prevailed with the highest jump in the world this year.
Behind them, the competition was quite good as for the first time in history five women cleared 4.80 in the same competition. Additionally, three national records were set (Belarus, Venezuela, and Sweden). *Results
Noah Lyles says he’s going after “anything and everything” in Doha
The first round of the men’s 200 kicked off today, and the big news was the withdrawal of Christian Coleman, whose agent Emanuel Hudson told Reuters that Coleman was sore after yesterday’s 100-meter final and didn’t leave the stadium until after 1 a.m.
One man who did run was gold-medal favorite Noah Lyles of the US — his first appearance at a World Championships — though today he was more interesting off the track than on it.
Lyles looked to mostly be going through the motions in qualifying, and though he finished second in his heat behind 2017 bronze medalist Jereem Richards of Trinidad & Tobago, he was never in any danger of being eliminated.
After the race, Lyles was asked whether he feels he’s in the best shape of the year.
“I feel almost better [than at any point this year],” Lyles said.
How good exactly will have to wait until Tuesday’s final, but Lyles isn’t putting any limits on himself.
“I’ll be going after anything and everything,” Lyles said, when asked about the potential of a world record (his PR is 19.50; Usain Bolt’s WR, set at this meet 10 years ago, is 19.19. “Of course, the gold is first, and whatever time pops up, I’ll just be ready…This is a smooth track; it’s always good to get on some fresh Mondo.”
Lyles was also asked about sub-19. Does he think it’s possible?
“I think it is,” Lyles said. “And if you don’t think it is, I don’t think you need to be in the sport.”