Sydney McLaughlin anchors U.S. on record-setting day at track and field world championships


EUGENE, Ore. — Sydney McLaughlin took the final victorious lap of an All-American world championships Sunday, pulling away in the 4×400-meter relay to close a U.S. runaway and give the Americans their record 33rd medal of the meet.

McLaughlin turned a .73-second lead into a 2.93-second laugher on the anchor lap, adding this burst of speed to the world record she set two nights earlier in the 400 hurdles.

Two more world records went down Sunday — in the very first and very last action of the last session at Hayward Field.

Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan opened the evening by setting the record for the 100-meter hurdles in the semifinals: 12.12 seconds. She came back about 90 minutes later to win the gold medal. Her winning time was actually faster — 12.06 — but the wind was too strong, so that mark doesn’t go in the books.

“When I watched the record, I was like ‘Whoa, who did that?‘” Amusan said.

And after McLaughlin was done with her last lap, pole vaulter Armand Duplantis of Sweden cleared 6.21 meters (20 feet, 4 1/2 inches) to best his world record by .01.

He gave Sweden its first gold medal of the meet. That was 12 fewer than the Americans.

The last was especially sweet, as it also marked the 14th and final world gold for 36-year-old Allyson Felix, who came out of retirement to run in the preliminary of the 4×400 and, so, gets a medal. She finishes her career with a record 20 world medals, overall.

“We’re a family, we stick together,” McLaughlin said. “Allyson came out of retirement to get us here, so we wanted to do this.”

The U.S. won the women’s race in 3 minutes, 17.79 seconds.

The 33 medals was three more than the U.S. collected in 2017.

One of America’s golds went to Athing Mu in the 800.

She busted through the two laps in 1:56.30 — a .08 margin over Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson. The 20-year-old Mu is now the Olympic and world champion at that distance and, along with McLaughlin, part of a bright future for the United States.

In between, a sprinter named Champion — Champion Allison — anchored the men’s 4×400 to an easy win for medal No. 32.

Another medal went to U.S. pole vaulter Christopher Nilsen, who cleared 5.94 meters (19 feet, 5 3/4 inches), to clinch silver, then stepped aside to see what Duplantis would do.

The Olympic champion known as “Mondo” missed on his first attempt at the record, then waited for the relay, then got the crowd clapping in rhythm for him and cleared the bar.

Last year in Tokyo, the U.S. men got shut out of the sprints, leading to some questions about what was wrong.

Answer: Not much. With Fred Kerley and Noah Lyles leading the way, the men swept the sprints earlier in the week, and Ryan Crouser led a sweep in shot put. The 4×100 silver-medal relay team was messy — nothing new there — but it was a blip.

In all, the men actually won four more medals than the women during this 10-day meet.

“Our team is laser focused supporting our athletes and the coaches,” said Max Siegel, the CEO of USA Track and Field. “It’s putting the foundational programs together for them, and just working really hand in hand with all of the personal coaches.”

The decathlon champion is Kevin Mayer of France, who adds this to his title in 2017.

And the 5,000-meter title went to Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway, who finished in 13:09.24 in a special race.

That was the last race the legendary Steve Prefontaine of Oregon ran before a fatal car accident in Eugene.

It’s a city brimming with tributes to “Pre,” and in many ways, track’s biggest event, the world championships, ended up in this college town of 170,000 because of the tracks he laid down a half-century ago.

“This is probably the best place I could have won it,” Ingebrigtsen said.


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