The American sprinter took a mighty tumble. Nobody, however, has fallen harder than Jamaica so far at this year’s world championships.
The evening after Usain Bolt’s improbable loss to a pair of U.S. runners, the world’s best sprint island watched the red, white and blue paraded around the track once again at its expense.
Tori Bowie leaned over the line for her 100-meter victory, then stumbled and crashed down to the track to put the exclamation point on the second straight sprint shock of the meet. Her .01-second victory Sunday over Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast was a photo-finish thriller. The fact that the defending Olympic champion and the most dominant female sprinter of 2017, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, finished fifth was every bit as stunning.
“The past few years, Jamaica has dominated,” Bowie said. “We’ve had no harsh feelings toward them, no negative thoughts. We’ve been extremely focused on ourselves. Just trying to get where they’re at.”
In snapping a stretch of four straight Jamaican wins at the Olympics and worlds, Bowie became the first U.S. woman to win the world title at 100 meters since Carmelita Jeter in 2011. This marks the first U.S. sweep of the 100 at the worlds since 2005.
Bowie’s time, 10.85 seconds, was nothing spectacular. Her race, though, was something to behold.
She trailed Ta Lou by two paces as they headed into the last 20 meters but Bowie just kept charging. She caught Ta Lou at the end, and Bowie’s lean at the line was textbook. The photo finish actually shows Ta Lou’s foot ahead of Bowie’s, but Bowie beats her where it counts — her torso is over the line a fraction of an inch ahead of Ta Lou’s.
Dafne Schippers, the 2015 world champion in the 200, took bronze in 10.96.
“It’s not like there’s a training session for a lean,” said Bowie’s coach, Lance Brauman. “She did what she had to do to get to the line first. She’s scraped up and won and that’s all that really matters.”
The lean was so extreme, it sent Bowie off balance and careening into Lane 8, where she landed on her left hip while the runner in that lane, Murielle Ahoure, had to slow down, then jump to avoid landing on her.
Bowie stayed down for a few seconds. The “7’’ sticker on her left hip was torn almost completely off. She gathered herself and walked gingerly around the track for the victory lap. Afterward, she spent about an hour receiving treatment for abrasions on her shoulder, back and hip. The pain will go away. That gold is hers forever.
“The plan was to just come out here and execute, leave it all on the track,” Bowie said. “I didn’t want to come back saying, ‘Oh, I should’ve done this. I should’ve done that.’ That for sure wasn’t the case.”
Much as Bolt did the night before, Thompson moved awkwardly out of the blocks. Her 0.2 second reaction time was the worst in the field, and from there, she was never a factor in the race.
Quite a stunner, given the way she’s dominated the sprint game over the past year. Since she beat the previous champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, at the Olympics last year on her way to a 100-200 double, Thompson has been virtually untouchable. She came to London on a 17-race winning streak at 100 meters and her season-best time of 10.71 was the fastest in the world by more than 0.1 second.
One thing: She had been dealing with an Achilles’ injury this year and ran — and won — a race last month in training shoes, not spikes. She refused to use injuries as an excuse.
“I can’t complain,” she said. “I can’t re-run that race. I have to give those girls a lot of credit. It didn’t go as I planned.”
Like Bolt, Thompson won’t be running in the 200, raising the distinct possibility that the Jamaicans could get completely shut out of individual sprint gold at the worlds.
But Bowie will be there. The one-time long jumper who took up the sprint game only a few years ago posted a 21.77 at the Prefontaine Classic earlier this year, which is the fastest in the world this season. MDT/AP