MOSCOW, Russia--Team USA got contributions from Matthew Centrowitz (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Brenda Martinez in the men's 1500 and women's 800 as the squad earned five medals on the final evening of competition at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at Luzhniki Stadium.
Oregon grad Centrowitz, a member of the Beaverton-based Nike Oregon Project, bided his time, staying in the top half of the pack and running as high as second place as the pack moved along at a measured but honest pace of 1:59.24 at 800 meters.
At the bell, the pack remained relatively tightly bunched, with Centrowitz patiently sitting on the rail. When the field broke down the final straightaway, Centrowitz was in third and seized an opening, running three wide to move up to second in 3:36.78.
Asbel Kiprop of Kenya defended his title and took the gold in 3:36.28, with Johan Cronje of South Africa third in 3:36.83. Centrowitz joins Bernard Lagat as the only U.S. men to win two medals in the 1500m at the World Championships.
Martinez won the first ever World Championship medal in the 800m for an American woman. She started conservatively, running eighth at 200m and 7th at 400m. Martinez managed the traffic well as five women sprinted to the line in a race for second place behind Eunice Sum of Kenya. Martinez found a spot on the rail to nab the bronze in a personal best of 1:57.91, behind Sum (1:57.38) and Mariya Savinova of Russia (1:57.80).
Alysia Montaño bolted to an early lead, splitting 56.06 for 400m, but her lead disappeared with 150 meters to go, and she dove across the line in fourth 1:57.95. 19-year-old Ajeé Wilson set an American Junior record of 1:58.21 in sixth.
Triple jumper Will Claye repeated his bronze medal performance from the 2011 World Championships with his mark of 17.52m/57-5.75. Defending Olympic and World Champion Christian Taylor opened with a jump of 16.99m/55-9 to place him fourth, and improved on his final attempt to 17.20m/56-5.25, but was unable to move onto the medal stand.
In the men’s 4x100, Charles Silmon led off for Team USA and handed off even with Jamaica. A strong second leg by Mike Rodgersput the Americans in the lead at the second exchange, which Jamaica slightly bobbled. Mookie Salaam ran hard around the turn on the third leg.
As Justin Gatlin took off for the final exchange, he stumbled and struggled to recover and get the baton from Salaam. Once he did, he ran home to silver behind the Usain Bolt-led Jamaicans (center/photo by Paul Merca), who won in a world-leading time of 37.36. The U.S. was second in 37.66 with Canada third in 37.92 after Great Britain (37.80) was disqualified.
In the women’s 4x100, anchor Octavious Freeman snatched a second-place finish from the jaws of defeat in a reshuffled Team USA relay order. With Allyson Felix (hamstring) and Carmelita Jeter (quadriceps) out with injuries suffered or exacerbated in Moscow, Team USA presented a brand new lineup. Jeneba Tarmoh got out well in the first leg, handing off to Alexandria Anderson who ran a blazing second leg and approached English Gardner in the lead for the second exchange.
Gardner took off well in front of Anderson and had to slow almost to a stop in the exchange zone to complete the pass as Anderson also slowed. Gardner ran a hard turn and handed off to Freeman, who ran from seventh to third in an amazing final leg.
The final results have Jamaica first in a World Championships record 41.29, with Team USA second in 42.75 and Great Britain and Northern Ireland third in 42.87.
NOTE: USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.