Speaking ahead of the final evening session on 13 August, International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe described the IAAF World Championships London 2017 as the most competitive and compelling World Championships of all time.
“I can’t remember a time when the competition has been so competitive and the stories around them so compelling,” said Coe. “From the opening salvo of discus and long jump to the 4x400m this evening we have witnessed sometimes no more than the thickness of a vest between the finalists.
“There is a clear recognition of the connection between athletes and fans,” he added. “The ability of athletes to raise their game is, in a large part, driven by theater provided by full houses.
“When we get that right, this sport is unassailable.”
Many of the sport’s established stars – Mo Farah, Wayde van Niekerk, Sally Pearson, for example – won gold medals, but there were also several surprise medalists, which has introduced fans a field of young athletes making their debut on the global scene.
The likes of 100m silver medalist Christian Coleman, 400m hurdles winner Karsten Warholm, 200m finalist Abdul Sani Brown and triple jump winner Yulimar Rojas are among the many captivating stories that have unfolded over the past ten days.
The sport’s stars, new and old, have been able to better connect with fans at these championships, thanks to various social media campaigns taking place both inside the stadium and for those watching at home.
Many athletes have commented on how the atmosphere from the sell-out crowds have helped inspire them to medal-winning performances and highly competitive finals with unprecedented depth in numerous events.
This World Championships has also helped the IAAF reach a landmark of 1.2 million spectators at World Athletics Series events in 2017, almost doubling the previous record figure. 900,000 of those spectators came from the IAAF World Championships.
IAAF Press Release