Tori tumbles to gold in sprint
Bowie’s bizarre finish gives USA 100m golden sweep of Jamaica
LONDON — American Tori Bowie came up with an extreme lean to snatch an unlikely victory before taking a mighty tumble in Sunday’s women’s 100m sprint final.
But nobody has fallen harder than Jamaica at the World Athletics Championships.
The evening after Usain Bolt’s stunning loss to a pair of US runners, the world’s best sprint nation again watched as the Stars and Stripes was paraded around the track at its expense.
After Bowie leaned over the finish line, she stumbled and crashed to the ground, putting an exclamation point on the second straight sprint shock of the meet.
Her 0.01-second victory over Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire was a photo-finish thriller. The fact that the defending Olympic champion and the most dominant female sprinter of 2017, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, finishing fifth was every bit as stunning.
“The past few years, Jamaica has dominated,” Bowie said. “We’ve had no harsh feelings toward them, no negative thoughts. We’ve been extremely focused on ourselves, just trying to get where they’re at.”
In snapping a stretch of four straight Jamaican wins at the Olympics and worlds, Bowie became the first US woman to win the world title in the 100 since Carmelita Jeter in 2011. This marks the first US sweep of the event at the worlds since 2005.
Bowie’s time of 10.85sec was nothing spectacular, but her race was something to behold.
She trailed Ta Lou by two strides as they headed into the final 20 meters, but Bowie just kept charging. She caught Ta Lou at the end, and the American’s lean at the line was textbook.
The photo finish actually showed Ta Lou’s foot ahead of Bowie’s, but Bowie beat her where it counts — her torso was over the line a fraction of an inch ahead of Ta Lou’s.
Dafne Schippers, the 2015 world champion in the 200, took bronze in 10.96.
“It’s not like there’s a training session for a lean,” said Bowie’s coach, Lance Brauman. “She did what she had to do to get to the line first. She’s scraped up and won and that’s all that really matters.”
The lean was so extreme, it sent Bowie off balance and careering into lane 8, where she landed on her left hip while the runner in that lane, Murielle Ahoure, had to slow down and then jump to avoid landing on her.
Bowie stayed down for a few seconds. The No 7 sticker on her left hip was torn almost completely off. She gathered herself and walked gingerly around the track for the victory lap.
Afterward, she spent about an hour receiving treatment for abrasions on her shoulder, back and hip. The pain will go away. That gold is hers forever.
“The plan was to just come out here and execute, leave it all on the track,” Bowie said. “I didn’t want to come back saying, ‘Oh, I should’ve done this. I should’ve done that.’ That for sure wasn’t the case.”
Much as Bolt did the night before, Thompson moved awkwardly out of the blocks. Her 0.2 second reaction time was the worst in the field, and from there, she was never a factor in the race.
Quite a stunner, given the way she’s dominated the sprint game over the past year. Since she beat the previous champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, at the Olympics last year on her way to a 100-200 double, Thompson has been virtually untouchable.
She came to London on a 17-race winning streak at 100m and her season-best time of 10.71 was the fastest in the world by more than 0.1 second.
Thompson has been dealing with an Achilles injury this year and ran — and won — a race last month in training shoes, not spikes. She refused to use injuries as an excuse.
“I can’t complain,” she said. “I can’t re-run that race. I have to give those girls a lot of cred- it. It didn’t go as I planned.”
Like Bolt, Thompson won’t be running in the 200, raising the seemingly unthinkable possibility that Jamaicans will be completely shut out of individual sprint gold.
But Bowie will be there. The one-time long jumper who took up sprinting only a few years ago posted 21.77sec at the Prefontaine Classic earlier this year, which is the fastest time in the world this season.
First, though, she needs some time to heal.
Tori Bowie of the United States tumbles to the track after winning the gold medal in Sunday’s women’s 100m final at the World Athletics Championships in London.