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Berian_BorisFV1-Worlds16.JPg

Berian_BorisFV1-Worlds16.JPgBoris Berian, photo by PhotoRun.net

 

There are three facets of enjoyment for a long-scheduled, much-anticipated event that proves to be memorable: the anticipation; the actual experience; and the lasting reflection. Few would disagree that these 16th IAAF World Indoor Championship gathering proved its worth as one such event. There have been so many memorable moments - some overwhelming, others more subtle - it is difficult to single out the best. While others will certainly have their own, different collection, here is the listing of my top ten memorable moments - in ascending order, of course!

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Pierre_BarbaraQ-Worlds16.JPgBarbara Pierre, photo by PhotoRun.net

#10 / w60 / Barbara Pierre's Upset Win: Underestimated American sprinter Barbara Pierre [7.02] parlayed a rocket start into an upset win and her first global title. Dutch star Daphne Schippers - behind from the gun - couldn't run down the American, but closed hard for second [7.04].

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Eaton_AshtonR-Worlds16.JPgAshton Eaton, photo by PhotoRun.net

#9 / Heptathlon / Eaton, Beach Shine In Multi: Ashton Eaton coolly did his thing in winning his 3rd consecutive world indoor heptathlon title. Eaton's 6490 point total is #6 all time as The World's Greatest Athlete now has 5 of top 6 heptathlon performances of all time. Coming from way back in the standings, Curtis Beach's courageous final-event 1000 in 2:29.04 - a new championship record - fell just 8 points short of the bronze.

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Theisen_BrianneHJ-World16.JPGBrianne Theisen-Eaton, photo by PhotoRun.net

#8 / Pentathlon / Theisen Eaton's Gutty 800 Lifts Her To Gold: In 3rd place and down 114 points to pentathlon leader Anastasiya Mokhyuk with one event to go, Brianne Theisen Eaton ran a spirited final event - the 800m - in a season-best 2:09.99 to earn 965 points, giving her just enough points [4881] to slide past the Ukrainian [4847] for the gold medal.

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Suhr_Jenn-Worlds16.JPgJenn Suhr, photo by PhotoRun.net

#7 / wPV / Jenn Suhr's World Championship Clearance Highlights Her Victory: After failing to win the national vault title in the same venue the week before, Suhr came back strong. Carefully managing her attempts, the 34 year old reigning Olympic champion took only 4 jumps and made them all to win the gold. Her last clearance at 4.90m/16'¾" set a new indoor championship record.

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Lavillenie_Renaud-Worlds16.JPgRenaud Lavillenie, photo by PhotoRun.net

#6 / mPV / Renaud Lavillenie Jumps Seldom, Jumps High, Claims Title: Showcased during the Day One opening ceremony, the pole vault events claimed the crowd's full attention. The efficient Frenchman needed only 2 jumps to win the men's competition. The reigning Olympic champion then went on to set the championship record [6.02m/19'9"] and tantalized the capacity crowd with 3 attempts - albeit unsuccessful - at the world record height of 6.17m/20'2¾".

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Hill_RyanFL-Worlds16.JPgRyan Hill, photo by PhotoRun.net

#5 / m3000 / Hill's "Near Perfect" Race Earns Him Silver: At the pre-race press conference, Hill revealed he was shooting for a top 5 finish, but felt he "had a shot for medal if he had a really good day. The Bowerman Track Club athlete had that really good day. After a tepid start, the NC State graduate was able cover when defending champion Kenya's Caleb Ndiku dramatically shifted gears with 6 laps remaining. 5th at the bell, Hill never gave in. At full throttle over the final 100, Hill passed Marakesh's Iguider off the final turn and caught Kenya's Choge just before the line for the silver.

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Reese_Brittney-World16.JPGBrittney Reese, photo by PhotoRun.net

#4 / wLJ / Brittney Reese's Patented Clutch Final Jump Bomb: Multiple-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese lost the early lead in the women's long jump when Serbia's Ivana Ŝpanovic stretched out a 5th-round leap of 7.07m/23'2½". As she has done so many times before, Reese returned the favor when - on her 6th and final attempt - the American jump queen uncorked a world-leading leap of 7.22/23'8¼" to swipe the gold medal and claim yet another indoor world championship title.

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Carter_MichelleWide-WorInd16.jpgMichelle Carter, photo by PhotoRun.net

#3 / wSP / Michelle Carter's "Buzzer Beater" Last Throw: Going into the 6th and final round, Michelle Carter's third round heave of 19.31m/63'4¼" had held up as the event leader. With her final attempt, Hungary's Anita Marton got the ball out 19.33m/63'5" to edge into the lead. But the American Shot Diva had one final throw remaining - and Carter made it count as she unloaded a world-leading monster put of 20.21/66'3¾" to grab back the gold medal.

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Holusa-Centrowitz-WillisFH-Worlds16.JPgCentro wins, photo by PhotoRun.net

#2 / m1500 / Savvy Race Strategy Results In Gold For Centro: It was the elephant in the room. He'd won global medals before, but never gold. Would this be the time for Matthew Centrowitz? The race began cautiously. But Centro - the master of race positioning - was always in the right spot. Everyone could sense the pace winding up, but the real race began when Nick Willis spurted into the lead with 2 laps remaining. Although slightly gapped, Centro kept his cool. With 100 remaining and the decibel level inside the Convention Center never higher, the Millrose champion got on Willis' shoulder, swung wide off the final curve in a full sprint, and overcame the Kiwi for the win - covering the final 300m in less than 39 seconds.

Berian_Boris-Worlds16.JPg

Berian_Boris-Worlds16.JPgBoris Berian, photo by PhotoRun.net

#1 / m800 / Bold Berian Is Courageous: Throwing caution to the wind, USA's Boris Berian - an unsung McDonald's employee just about a year ago - simply went for it in the 800 meter final. After splitting 400 in 49.3 to forge a 15 meter lead, Berian began to wobble with 150 meters remaining as he worked hard to hold on. Lifted by the roaring crowd, the fearless leader crossed the line in 1:45.83 to hold off a late charges by Burundi's Antoine Gakeme [1:46.65]. Erik Sowinski's fine 3rd place finish [1:47.22] gave the USA two middle distance medals. You've got to risk it to get the biscuit.

You'll note my top ten is heavily weighted with American moments - and justifiably so. While I plead guilty to a bias in favor of my homeland, with the final count at a record 23 medals [13 gold; 6 silver; and 4 bronze], Team USA simply had more grand moments. It is true that the Olympic Games are still nearly 5 months away and anything can happen. And it can be fairly observed that many exceptional foreign athletes did not compete here. But this medal harvest - gathered notwithstanding that more than a few American medal prospects [e.g. Felix, Taylor, Merritt, Simpson, Gatlin, etc.] also elected to bypass the indoor season and/or this global championships - suggests there is reason for optimism about America's medal prospects in Rio.

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TAFWA Award

Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.

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