LONDON — With Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson in the 100 metres, it was supposed to be double sprint gold for Jamaica by now. Instead, it’s the United States that leads 2-0 at the world championships.
With a desperate final lunge on Sunday, Tori Bowie dipped at the line to edge Marie-Josee Ta Lou by .01 seconds and win in 10.85.
Once across and off balance, the American sprinter fell onto the track and didn’t have a clue who had won.
“The dive doesn’t feel too good now,” said Bowie, who added gold to her Olympic silver from last year. “I never give up until I am over the line.”
Dafne Schippers, the 2015 world champion in the 200, took bronze in 10.96.
Thompson, the Olympic champion from last year, came into the race as a big favourite. Sporting a flower bow in her headband and purple lipstick to stand out, she was never a factor and finished fifth in 10.98.
“I didn’t execute my race, which is a shame, but I’m healthy,” Thompson said. “I don’t know what went wrong.”
On Saturday, Justin Gatlin won the men’s 100, beating Bolt.
The stunning reversal of Jamaica’s sprint fortunes was highlighted by the fact that it didn’t have a medallist in the women’s 100 for the first time in 14 years.
In an event almost as close as the 100 final, Ekaterini Stefanidi again held off Sandi Morris to win gold in the pole vault.
Morris and Stefanidi were involved in an epic battle when the Greek won on a countback at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It was almost as good at the world championships.
This time, neither had a failure through 4.75 metres — they were tied at the top with all opposition already out. Then, Stefanidi scaled 4.82 while Morris failed.
When gold was already assured, Stefanidi cleared 4.91 for a Greek record.
There was nothing close about the heptathlon, though, as Nafi Thiam added a world championship gold medal to her Olympic title.
The 22-year-old Belgian already had a huge lead coming into the concluding 800-meter race in the two-day competition. Thiam finished last in the final heat but still had more than enough points to win.
Thiam finished with 6,784 points, 88 more than silver medallist Carolin Schaefer of Germany. Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands took bronze with 6,636 points.
Thiam won three of the seven events — the high jump, shot put and long jump.
In the men’s shot put, Tomas Walsh of New Zealand already had won gold when he threw 22.03 metres on his last attempt, 37 centimetres more than defending champion Joe Kovacs.
The American also had a huge throw on his last attempt but was given a red flag for a foot fault. Stipe Zunic of Croatia took bronze with a toss of 21.46.
Ryan Crouser of the United States, the Olympic champion and the season’s top performer, never got it going and finished sixth with a throw of 21.14.
During a sunny but cool day, and with some iconic London landmarks serving as a backdrop, the world championships produced a pair of stirring marathon races.
Both Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya and Rose Chelimo of Bahrain came from behind to win gold medals on Tower Bridge.
Kirui earned Kenya a record fifth men’s marathon title in the morning by beating Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia in a seesaw race. Then, the Kenyan-born Chelimo and Edna Kiplagat produced a similar back-and-forth contest in the afternoon to give the diminutive runner her first major international title.
In the Olympic Stadium, Bolt got the early cheers in the evening session. Gatlin got the boos — again.
At the medal ceremony for Saturday’s 100 metres, Bolt received massive applause for his bronze medal and American silver medallist Christian Coleman was also warmly greeted by the crowd of about 60,000 spectators.
However, when Gatlin came up to receive his gold medal from IAAF President Sebastian Coe, the derisive booing returned but there was also a smattering of applause — some of it from Bolt. The negative intensity didn’t quite reach the peaks of the previous days when Gatlin ran.
With his doping past — his suspension ended in 2010 — the American has long been portrayed as the bad guy set against Bolt’s charismatic, fun-loving personality.