Tori tum­bles to gold in sprint

Bowie’s bizarre fin­ish gives USA 100m golden sweep of Ja­maica

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

DAVID J. PHILLIP / AP

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.

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