Jarrion Lawson, fresh off a silver medal at the world championships two weeks ago, leapt to a gold medal in the men’s long jump, and Aries Merritt won the men’s 110-meter hurdles as Team USA claimed two gold, four silver and three bronze medals at the Diamond League event on Sunday in Birmingham, England.
Lawson, who placed fourth at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, went 8.19 meters to easily outdistance South Africa’s Ruswahl Samaai (8.03), who nipped Michael Hartfield of the U.S. for the silver medal as the Americans went 1-3 in the long jump.
“I was just trying to get a feel of my body throughout the competition to see the reaction post world championships,” the 23-year-old Lawson said. “I'm kind of excited to be heading to the Diamond League final after my first Diamond League win, so it is a pretty interesting time for me.”
Merritt won gold in the men’s 110-meter hurdles while teammate Devon Allen took third. Merritt’s winning time of 13.29 is far off his world record time of 12.80, set weeks after he won the Olympic gold medal in London in 2012. Allen finished in 13.40.
“It is always good to come out and beat two medalists from the world championship,” said Merritt, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2015.
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Ameer Webb of the U.S. ran 20.26 to earn silver in the men’s 200-meter, just behind winner Ramil Guliyev of Turkey, who won in 20.17. Webb, a 2016 Olympian, finished fifth at the world championships two weeks ago.
Reigning Olympic champion Ryan Crouser bounced back from being shut out of a world championship medal with a silver in the men’s shot put, finishing behind newly-crowned world champion Tomas Walsh of New Zealand. Walsh threw 21.83 while Crouser threw 21.55.
Allyson Felix and Courtney Okolo went 2-3 in the women’s 400-meter, won by Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain in a time of 50.59 seconds.
Felix, a nine-time Olympic medalist, ran 50.53 with Okolo right on her heels at 50.66. Felix won three medals at the world championships this month to bring her career total to 16.
“It has been a long few weeks, so I was feeling tired out there. So I just wanted to come out here and try to get it done but I came up just short,” Felix said. “Everyone is tired from London, but I came and gave it my best effort. I am not sure about any future races this season. I am going to see how I recover from this.”
Dalilah Muhammad earned a silver medal in the women’s 400-meter hurdles in a tightly contested race against gold medal-winner and two-time world champion Zuzana Hejnova of Czech Republic. Muhammad, the gold medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games, finished in 54.20, just behind the 54.18 of Hejnova.
“I have been feeling really sore since London so I'm glad to get through in one piece,” Muhammad said. “I didn't accomplish everything I wanted this summer so I need to go home, look at my training, and come back stronger for the final in Brussels.”
The Diamond League schedule concludes after an event in Zurich, Switzerland, later this month and then the Diamond League Finals on Sept. 1 in Brussels, Belgium.
Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.