BEIJING — A pair of American women competing in their first IAAF World Championships turned in bronze medal-winning performances Monday night in Beijing.
Tori Bowie (Sandhill, Miss.) and Emily Infeld (Cleveland, Ohio) each placed third at opposite ends of the running-event spectrum, with Bowie placing third in the 100 and Infeld grabbing bronze in the 10,000m to highlight Team USA’s best-ever showing in that event.
Rookie Infeld claims 10k bronze
The Team USA trio of Infeld, Molly Huddle (Providence, Rhode Island) and Shalane Flanagan (Marblehead, Massachusetts) turned in the best overall women’s 10,000m performance for the U.S. in World Championships history. Perhaps more eyebrow-raising that the overall team performance was that the top performer was the least-heralded of the three … until Monday.
All three stayed in the lead pack for the entirety of the race, which saw slow lap splits ranging from the mid-to-high 70 seconds, often hitting 79. The pace started to pick up at 6,000 meters as Huddle, the American record holder at 5,000 meters, stayed reliably near the front end of the pack, sitting just off the lead in the final four laps. At the bell, Huddle moved to the front of the pack and looked to be in medal contention with seconds remaining in the race. However, a surging Infeld edged Huddle at the line to claim a spot on the podium in her first World Championships appearance, crossing in 31:43.49, matching Kara Goucher (2007, bronze) as the only woman to win a medal in the 10,000m. Huddle finished fourth in 31:43.58 and Flanagan, the American record holder and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, was sixth in 31:46.23. It marked the first time three American women finished in the top six of the 10k at World Outdoors.
Bowie brings home 100m bronze
The winner of the women’s 100 was seemingly settled at the gun, as Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won her third World Outdoor gold to accompany her two Olympic golds. Running two lanes to the right of Fraser-Pryce, Bowie was in medal contention throughout the race, finishing third in 10.86 behind Fraser-Pryce’s 10.76 and a national record of 10.81 for The Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers.
In the semifinal, Bowie was out well and had an early lead which she never yielded, cruising to an easy win in heat 1in 10.87. English Gardner (Voorhees, New Jersey) had a fair start in the first semi but never appeared to get to her top speed, finishing sixth in 11.13 to miss the final. Jasmine Todd (Chandler, Arizona) was never in contention in the final heat, placing eighth in 11.21.