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Sport Saved?: World Championships Day 6 Recap

The United States rebounds from a disappointing Day 5 showing. Allyson Felix makes a compelling case for changing the schedule. Usain Bolt "saves the sport" once more. A world record is threatened in the triple jump.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Outside of some minor disappointments in the women's 800m, Day 6 was a day of American redemption. In the morning, Nicole Tully advanced to the final of the 5000m. The American men went 3-for-3 in advancing in to the semifinal of the men's 1500 as Leo Manzano and Matt Centrowitz both nabbed automatic qualifying spots in their heats while Robby Andrews got through on time. In the heats of the women's 100m hurdles, all four Americans finished in the top two of their heats and look in good position to grab multiple medals in the event.

The afternoons Aries Merritt and David Oliver advance to the final of the men's 110m hurdles. Allyson Felix dominated the

Morning Session

  • In basketball, you hear about certain players having gravity, which basically means that they draw defenders to them even when they don't have the ball. A sharpshooter like Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks is a prominent example. To take that term to the track, Genzebe Dibaba has gravity. After a controlled 3800m, Dibaba moved up from the back of the pack to second or third. She didn't have to even lead, but that move alone was good enough to put a jolt into the pace. If you're as good as Dibaba is, you don't have to lead the race to control it.
  • The Universal Sports coverage of the men's 1500m was incredibly frustrating. They cut away from action in all the heats for commercials, leading to the following Twitter rant from David Torrence:

He's not wrong about any of this. Track fans have been complaining about the American coverage of the sport for as long as I've been following professional track and field. I highly doubt that we'll see better coverage in Rio in 2016 because NBC has no proximate incentive to do improve. We're all still going to watch regardless of quality and the Olympics generate views automatically. Sure, better coverage could convert people into track fans and grow the sport, but I think USATF is doing quite fine at the moment with their Nike coin.

Afternoon Session

  • A number of heavyweights will be absent for the final of the women's 800m. In the first heat of the semifinals, Brenda Martinez, Jenny Meadows, and Caster Semenya finished 6-7-8, eliminating them from contention to advance. The last heat of the semis was blazing with three women finishing under 1:58 in a photo finish. Melissa Bishop outleaned Marina Arzamasova and Eunice Sum for first. They, respectively, ran 1:57.52, 1:57.54, and 1:57.56. Sum, of course, advanced on time, as did Joanna Jozwik, who finished 4th behind Sum in the third heat.
  • In Monaco and in these World Championship 1500m, Sifan Hassan has been the only woman able to put up convincing resistance to Genzebe Dibaba's dominance, but today, she looked exhausted. She finished 5th in the third heat and ran a fast time of 1:58.50, but she never put herself in the race and the blistering early pace was too much for her after multiple rounds of 1500m and a round of the 800m already under her in the last week.
  • Christian Taylor jumps the second-farthest anyone has ever jumped to get gold in the triple jump final with a jump of 18.21 meters, which is just shy of Jonathan Edwards's World Record of 18.29.
  • In the women's 400m final, Allyson Felix shot out of the blocks and led the race wire-to-wire, running 49.26 FTW. It would have been nice if the 400-200 double were a realistic option for her. After today, you would have to figure she will choose the 400m for next year. The optimal solution is to change the schedule to accommodate a double that I'm sure a number of athletes would like to attempt. With the gold medal, she tied Bolt for most world championship golds with 9. But that tie was to be short-lived.
  • Shaunae Miller, Shericka Jackson, and Christine Day all ran personal bests in the final, but had to settle for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th behind the Allyson Felix Show, in which three women finished under 50 seconds. The four Jamaicans in the final combined for only one medal, Shericka Jackson's bronze. They finished 3-4-5-6.
Place Athlete Time
1 Allyson Felix (USA) 49.26
2 Shaunae Miller (BAH) 49.67
3 Shericka Jackson (JAM) 49.99
  • The 200m final was the most-anticipated event of the day as Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin rematched their 100m 1-2 finish. Bolt got out of the blocks well and came off the turn in the lead with Gatlin close behind. Now, it doesn't take much familiarity with Usain Bolt to know that you do not want him to get off to a good start if you want a chance to win. It is incredibly unlikely that even the speed of Justin Gatlin can overtake him in the second half of a race. Your only hope, so long as Bolt is anywhere near top form, is to get out to an early lead and hope it provides enough cushion. Bolt expanded his lead over the last 100m of the race to beat Gatlin yet again.
  • More on that 200m: To top Bolt's time of 19.55, Justin Gatlin would have had to run a personal best time. His fastest of his career (and this season) is 19.57. Unlike the 100m where you could argue that Gatlin gave away a race that was there for the taking, this 200m was never really there. There is no shame in this runner-up finish for Justin Gatlin.
    Place Athlete Time
    1 Usain Bolt (JAM) 19.55
    2 Justin Gatlin (USA) 19.74
    3 Anasa Jobodwana (RSA) 19.87

Day 7 will provide more opportunities for the Americans to get back on track with medals. The women's 200m final, men's 110m hurdles final, and women's 100m hurdles final all provide solid opportunities for multiple American medals.