OTC Elite’s Jesse Williams Wins A Gold Medal in the High Jump!
What a day in Daegu! Jesse Williams jumps 2.35 meters (7′-8.5″) with fewer misses to edge out Aleksey Dmitrik of Russia for the win. Two other Americans also won gold: Jennifer Barringer-Simpson came from behind to win the 1,500 meters in 4:05:40 and LaShinda Demus grabs gold with her 400-meter hurdle time of 52.47.
Williams’ performance is the first men’s high jump title since Charles Austin won gold at the 1991 worlds in Tokyo, on the same exact day: September 1. Barringer-Simpson’s victory is the first for an American woman in the 1,500 meters since Mary Decker-Slaney thrilled the crowd with her win in 1983. Demus’ time is a new American record — as well as the fastest run in the world this year and the third fastest time ever (only .13 off the WR)!
And great performances from a couple of University of Oregon athletes in the qualifying heats: Matthew Centrowitz won his semi-final to breeze into the 1,500 final, and Mike Berry was part of the Team USA 4×400 relay team that won its heat to advance to the final – in a world-leading time of 2:58.82 (Berry’s ran a blazing 43.83 for his relay leg !)
Other Americans did well today too — Bernard Lagat won his heat in 13:33:90 to qualify for the final in the men’s 5000 meters. Galen Rupp also qualified with a 5th place finish in the heat. Carmelita Jeter, Allyson Felix and Shalonda Solomon all qualified to move to the next round in the 200 meters. All four American shot putters (Reese Hoffa, Christian Cantwell, Adam Nelson and Ryan Whiting) qualified to move on to the final round, and Brigetta Barrett will move on to the finals in the women’s high jump. Dwight Phillips and Will Claye both qualified in the long jump and all three Team USA women will run in the next round of the 800 meters (Maggie Vessey, Alysia Johnson Montano, Alice Schmidt.)
Overall, it was a day that reminded longtime track writer Philip Hersh of the “good old times” of USA track and field.