Thursday, August 27, 2015

Veterans Christian Taylor and Allyson Felix spark life into Team USA on Day 6 of world champs...

BEIJING, China—Veterans Christian Taylor (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Allyson Felix provided some spark to a Team USA squad that was shut out of the medals two days ago, as they won their events to conclude day six of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

The 2011 World and 2012 Olympic champion, Taylor had a tentative first attempt with his jump of 16.85m/55-3.5. With a tremendous second “step” phase, he was able to produce 17.49m/57-4.75 on his second attempt to move into second overall, and his third jump matched Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Cuba’s then-best of 17.60m/57-9, leaving Taylor in second because the Cuban’s next-best jump was superior to Taylor’s.

Taylor, the University of Florida alum, took the lead in the fourth round with a leap of 58-0.25 (17.68m), then got his American record in the penultimate jump of the evening, despite leaving about 8 centimeters on the take off board to spare.

Inn the women’s 400, Allyson Felix of Los Angeles, who seems to have been around forever despite being only 29 years old, set a personal best of 49.26 to win her first major international title at 400 meters, and in doing so, broke a tie with Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson for the most world championship gold medals won by an American.

Running in lane 6, she made up the stagger on 2008 Olympic gold medalist Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain in lane 7 before the first curve was over.

Ohuruogu and the field began to close around the 200m mark, but Felix quickly put on a surge and pulled away for the win in 49.26, a 2015 world leader, stadium record and personal best. Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas was a well-beaten second in 49.67, with Shericka Jackson of Jamaica third in 49.99.  

Former Oregon Duck Phyllis Francis was seventh overall in 50.51, just 1/100th off of her personal best set in the semis.

In the most anticipated race of the evening, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt defeated the USA’s Justin Gatlin to add the 200 meter title to the 100 championship won Sunday night in a world leading time of  19.59 to Gatlin’s 19.74.

Friday, University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo begins competition in the decathlon, while Vancouver native Kara Winger, the current American holder in her specialty, competes in the qualifying round of the javelin.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

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