Budapest WACs 2023 Day 7: Medals continue to flow for the US

By Sam Fariss

BUDAPEST – After seven days of competition at the World Athletics Championships, the United States seems to be on course to repeat its place atop the medal table once again. Four golds ahead of Spain in 2nd place and 14 medals ahead of Jamaica in third, Team USA has been consistently performing at the top of their game.

Day seven consisted of four finals: the women’s triple jump, the women’s javelin throw, the women’s 200 meters, and the men’s 200 meters. While Americans were unable to stand on the podium in the javelin throw or triple jump competition, three stars earned gold, silver, and bronze for their country.

The women’s 200 meters is a highly anticipated showdown between Jamaica and the United States, much like the 100-meter race. Sha’Carri Richardson and Gabby Thomas were the top contenders from the US, while Jamaican Shericka Jackson was the sole qualifier for her country in the final.

Gabby Thomas, photo by Kevin Morris

These three women had tossed the world-leading time amongst each other all season long, along with Saint Lucia’s Julien Alfred, a recently turned pro-University of Texas athlete.

As the starting gun fired, all four sprinters seemed to explode out of the blocks and smoothly glide along the back curve. Jackson clearly had the strongest start, leading the entire field into the later half of the race. Richardson was staying on her hip, and Thomas was pushing past racers as they neared the finish line.

However, Jackson was able to claim her world title, leaving behind Thomas in second and Richardson in third. Richardson ran a personal best in the 200-meter distance with a time of 21.92 seconds, while Jackson broke the championship record with her blazing speed, finishing in just 21.41 seconds.

Shericka Jackson, photo by Kevin Morris

“I knew that I was going to have to come in hot, so that’s what I did,” Thomas said. “That was a fast race. I was shocked looking at the screen afterward.”

Jackson’s win now lays claim to the largest margin of victory in this event since Allyson Felix won gold in 2007 at the Osaka World Athletics Championships, bringing her within a tenth of a second of the world record.

The silver and bronze medals were draped around Thomas’ and Richardson’s necks, though as they earned two more medals for the United States. Richardson brought home gold in the 100-meter sprint earlier in the week.

“I’m just grateful,” Richardson said. “No other word can describe how I feel.”

Sha’Carri Richardson, photo by Kevin Morris

The night’s final event brought along an even more impressive performance by the American athletes. Noah Lyles, who won gold in the men’s 100 meters and was also attempting the double, was competing alongside his compatriot, 19-year-old Erriyon Knighton.

Knighton, who earned the national title at the USATF championships in July, had called for the repeat of a podium sweep.

“We got us a good squad going over there,” Knighton said. “And hey, we gonna try to make the same thing happen as last year; we gonna get a sweep.”

And they came close.

Noah Lyles, photo by Kevin Morris

Lyles flew past his competition and crossed the finish line first with a time of 19.52 seconds. He was followed by Knighton, who finished at the 19.75-second mark. Bednarek, the third Team USA member in the race, finished in 5th place even though he was only a mere 0.55 seconds behind Lyles.

“The double is complete!!!!!” Lyles shared on Twitter following his victory.

This is Lyle’s third World Championships in a row to take home the world title in the men’s 200-meter competition.

Lyles’ double golds and Knighton’s silver brought the US total medal count up to 23 – just 10 away from the country’s winning total last year in Eugene.

“I feel like I came here and got the silver, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Knighton said.

With two days and 16 events remaining in the world champs, Team USA will have to wait and see if they can beat their previous record-breaking total, but they seem to be on track to do so.