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All That Glitters Is Not Gold, Silver Or Bronze As Team USA Shows Depth At Track And Field Worlds

By Karen Rosen | Oct. 03, 2019, 7:12 p.m. (ET)

Maggie Ewen competing in the women's shot put final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 on Oct. 3, 2019 in Doha, Qatar.


DOHA, Qatar -- You can't win 'em all.

Team USA, which has twice as many medals as any other country with 18 (eight golds, eight silvers and two bronzes), earned three fourth places and two fifths as four events concluded at the IAAF World Championships on Thursday night.

And yes, Team USA has more fourth and fifth places than any other country, too, with five of each.

First, Maggie Ewen was fourth in the women's shot put with a heave of 18.93 meters. That's especially noteworthy since the introduction in her Wikipedia entry changed from "Magdalyn Ewen is an American hammer thrower" to "Magdalyn Ewen is an American shot putter."

That's because Ewen placed 21st in the hammer throw at the world championships two years ago in London, then qualified for Team USA this year in shot put.

She moved into fourth place on her fifth throw out of six as Chase Ealey finished seventh and Olympic champion Michelle Carter placed ninth.

Then about 15 minutes later, Wadeline Jonathas was fourth and defending world champion Phyllis Francis fifth in a thrilling 400-meter. The top five finishers posted personal bests and went under 50 seconds.

"I knew it would be a tough race, but I didn't get scared," said Jonathas.

Salwa Eid Nasser of Bahrain upgraded from silver two years ago by running a world-leading time of 48.14 seconds. That's nearly a second off her previous best of 49.08 and is the third-fastest ever behind Maria Koch of East Germany (47.60 in 1985) and Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czechoslovakia (47.99).

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, the reigning Olympic champion and a world championships silver and bronze medalist, was next in 48.37 seconds. That broke the area record of 48.70 held by Team USA's Sanya Richards-Ross from 2006.

Shericka Jackson of Jamaica posted a time of 49.47 seconds, followed by Jonathas in 49.60 and Francis in 49.61.

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Jonathas came into worlds with a personal best of 50.44 seconds and improved to 50.07 in the semifinals.

"It was good but my time wasn't good enough," Jonathas said. "But the race itself was amazing. I am very proud of myself to hit that time. It was a huge PR, and I felt like I left it all out there, but I just didn't happen to make it this time. I'm going to practice to get better and stronger and come back next time and hopefully I can take it.

In London two years ago, Francis won with a time of 49.92 seconds, followed by Nasser, who ran 50.06.

The heptathlon ended soon after, with Erica Bougard pulling up from seventh to fourth in the final event, the 800-meter.

She ran the race in 2:09.74 to finish with 6,470 points, passing teammate Kendall Williams, who posted a time of 2:17.54 to finish with 6,415 points for fifth. Chair Hawkins placed 12th with 6,073 points.

The highest Team USA finish in the decathlon was Solomon Simmons in eighth place with 8,151 points. Harrison Williams was 13th (7,892 points) and Devon Williams did not finish after an outing in the pole vault.

Jonathas said that the results Thursday will be incentive for the 4x400 this weekend.

"I think the 4x400 is going to be amazing," she said, "because two of us have basically missed the podium. I think that's going to be a motivation to really leave it out there in the 4x400, to make that up."