A majestic dive for the line propelled Tori Bowie to 100 meter gold at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships for the first major individual title of her career.
The 26-year-old, a member of the United States team that won the Olympic 4x100m title at Rio 2016, launched her body forward to snatch victory from Ivorian rival Mari-Josée Ta Lou by a single hundredth of a second in 10.85sec before tumbling to the ground.
It improved on 100m silver in Rio and bronze at the previous year’s World Championships in Beijing two years ago and emulated the American victory achieved by Justin Gatlin in the corresponding men’s event.
It also marked the first US 100m double at the biennial event since Gatlin and Lauryn Williams won the gold medals at Helsinki in 2005.
“The dive doesn’t feel too good now,” Bowie smiled afterwards.
“But that has saved me at Championships in the past.
“I never give up until I’m over the line.”
Home success here during the London Olympics was invariably followed by a rendition of the song Heroes, but it was a different Bowie calling the tunes tonight.
It provided a welcome relief from the atmosphere yesterday, where the boos of the crowd after Gatlin’s gold following two doping bans prompted some to consider him “The Man Who Sold The Sport”.
Defending world 200m champion Dafne Schippers of The Netherlands won the bronze medal in 10.96 as pre-race favorite and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson slumped to a surprising fifth in 10.98.
Like her fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt last night, a slow start put paid to Thompson’s chances.
Two other Olympic champions all added world titles tonight on an evening which lacked the headline moments of the opening two days, but was still packed full of drama.
Nafissatou Thiam proved her breakthrough heptathlon win at Rio 2016 was no fluke as she crowned a superb season in which she has also broken the 7,000 points barrier for the first time.
The 22-year-old Belgian combined power and speed with explosive throwing and jumping finesse to formidable effect.
This proved enough for her to build a commanding 172-point lead over Germany’s Carolin Schafer coming into the concluding 800m – enough for a 12 second gap on the track.
Thiam ultimately battled home in last place in her heat 2:min 21.42sec but still finished on a comfortable winning haul of 6,696 points.
Schafer clocked 2:15.34 to secure silver on 6,696 points.
Dutch hope Anouk Vetter claimed bronze courtesy largely of a Championship best javelin effort of 58.41 meters earlier on today during the grueling seven-event test to finish with 6,636 points.
Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson was left ruing her disappointing high jump yesterday as she finished fifth overall on 6,558 points.
Her retired compatriot Jessica Ennis-Hill began the evening by being awarded the gold medal from the 2011 World Championships in Daegu following the disqualification of Russia’s Tatyana Chernova for doping.
Ennis-Hill, who enjoyed her greatest event moment here when winning Olympic gold at London 2012, claimed not to be missing competition after she bowed out following Olympic silver behind Thiam last year.
Jennifer Oeser of Germany was also presented with the silver medal from that heptathlon event by IAAF President Sebastian Coe.
Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi followed her Rio 2016 success with a winning clearance of 4.82m before an even better national record leap of 4.91m.
American Sandi Morris finished second, just like at the Olympics, on 4.75m.
There was history elsewhere as Robeilys Peinado claimed Venezuela’s first-ever medal at these championships by sharing bronze with defending winner Yarisley Silva of Cuba.
There was a first-time winner in the men’s shot put as New Zealander Tomas Walsh improved on his Olympic bronze medal from Rio 2016.
The 25-year-old followed the trail blazed by fellow countrywoman and four-time world champion Valerie Adams by capping a perfect series with 22.03m on his final attempt.
This proved 37 centimeters further than US defending champion Joe Kovacs, given a red flag for a foot fault after what appeared to be a huge final attempt.
Stipe Zunic of Croatia hurled 21.46m for bronze.
Kovacs’ team-mate Ryan Crowser, the Olympic champion, endured a disappointing evening and could only manage sixth with 21.14m.
But Bowie’s late flourish ensured that the US finished the night with gold.
Both cleared 4.65m.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.