WORLD TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Olympic Stadium, London
Former Arkansas Razorback Sandi Morris took the silver medal in the women’s pole vault at the track and field world championships in London on Sunday after falling short against Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi. Morris, an American, also finished second to Stefanidi in the Olympics last summer.
Two other former Razorbacks advanced to the final in their event: Omar McLeod (Jamaica) in the 110-meter hurdles and Stanley Kebenei (United States) in the 3,000 steeplechase.
In the women’s 100, American Tori Bowie dipped at the line to edge Jamaica’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou by .01 seconds.
Belgium’s Nafi Thiam added a world championship to her Olympic gold medal in the heptathlon, cruising to the title with 6,784 points.
In the men’s shot put, Tomas Walsh of New Zealand won gold over American Joe Kovacs.
American Amy Cragg, the wife of former Razorbacks All-American Alistair Cragg, took the bronze. Rose Chelimo of Bahrain won the gold.
LONDON — With Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson in the 100 meters, it was supposed to be double sprint gold for Jamaica by now. Instead, it’s the United States that leads 2-0 at the world championships.
With a desperate final lunge on Sunday, Tori Bowie dipped at the line to edge Marie-Josee Ta Lou by .01 seconds and win in 10.85.
Once across and off balance, the American sprinter fell onto the track and didn’t have a clue who had won.
“The dive doesn’t feel too good now,” said Bowie, who added gold to her Olympic silver from last year. “I never give up until I am over the line.”
Dafne Schippers, the 2015 world champion in the 200, took bronze in 10.96.
Thompson, the Olympic champion from last year, came into the race as a big favorite. Sporting a flower bow in her headband and purple lipstick to stand out, she was never a factor and finished fifth in 10.98.
“I didn’t execute my race, which is a shame, but I’m healthy,” Thompson said. “I don’t know what went wrong.”
On Saturday, Justin Gatlin won the men’s 100, beating Bolt.
The stunning reversal of Jamaica’s sprint fortunes was highlighted by the fact that it didn’t have a medalist in the women’s 100 for the first time in 14 years.
In an event almost as close as the 100 final, Ekaterini Stefanidi again held off Sandi Morris (Arkansas Razorbacks) to win gold in the pole vault.
Morris and Stefanidi were involved in an epic battle when the Greek won on a countback at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It was almost as good at the world championships.
This time, neither had a failure through 15-7 — they were tied at the top with all opposition already out. Then, Stefanidi scaled 15-9¾ while Morris failed.
When gold was already assured, Stefanidi cleared 16-1¼ for a Greek record.
There was nothing close about the heptathlon, though, as Nafi Thiam added a world championship gold medal to her Olympic title.
The 22-year-old Belgian already had a huge lead coming into the concluding 800-meter race in the two-day competition. Thiam finished last in the final heat but still had more than enough points to win.
Thiam finished with 6,784 points, 88 more than silver medalist Carolin Schaefer of Germany. Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands took bronze with 6,636 points.
Thiam won three of the seven events — the high jump, shot put and long jump.
In the men’s shot put, Tomas Walsh of New Zealand already had won gold when he threw 72-3 1/3 on his last attempt, 37 centimeters more than defending champion Joe Kovacs.
The American also had a huge throw on his last attempt but was given a red flag for a foot fault. Stipe Zunic of Croatia took bronze with a toss of 21.46.
Ryan Crouser of the United States, the Olympic champion and the season’s top performer, never got it going and finished sixth.
During a sunny but cool day, and with some iconic London landmarks serving as a backdrop, the world championships produced a pair of stirring marathon races.
In the Olympic Stadium, Bolt got the early cheers in the evening session. Gatlin got the boos — again.
At the medal ceremony for Saturday’s 100 meters, Bolt received massive applause for his bronze medal and American silver medalist Christian Coleman was also warmly greeted by the crowd of about 60,000 spectators.
However, when Gatlin came up to receive his gold medal from IAAF President Sebastian Coe, the derisive booing returned but there was also a smattering of applause — some of it from Bolt. The negative intensity didn’t quite reach the peaks of the previous days when Gatlin ran.
American Sandi Morris (left), who competed at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, took the silver medal in the women’s pole vault at the track and field world championships in London on Sunday. Ekaterini Stefanidi (right) of Greece took the gold after clearing 16 feet, 1¼ inches.
American Stanley Kebenei, who previously ran for Arkansas, had a time of 8 minutes, 24.19 seconds in his heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase Sunday, earning a spot in Tuesday’s final.
Jamaica’s Omar McLeod, a former Arkansas Razorback, prepares for the start in his semifinal of the 110-meter hurdles at London on Sunday. McLeod, the defending Olympic gold medalist in the event, clocked a time of 13.10, the quickest in the semifinals.