Anna Hall celebrates after winning bronze in the women's heptathlon during the 2022 World Athletics Championships on July 18, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon.
When no less an authority on the heptathlon than Jackie Joyner-Kersee is singing your praises, you know you are doing something right. As Anna Hall put together a spectacular performance in the seven-events-in-one discipline at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, last summer, three-time Olympic gold medalist Joyner-Kersee was on hand, enthusiastically cheering from trackside at Hayward Field.
Hall won the bronze medal with 6,755 points, making her the third highest scoring American of all-time in the event. Joyner-Kersee, of course, is No. 1, her magnificent 7,291 tally from the 1988 Seoul Olympics remains the unchallenged world record nearly 35 years later.
“Anna, that fierce competitor, she kept pushing and didn’t give up,” Joyner-Kersee said on the NBC Sports broadcast after Hall locked up her medal with a gritty win in the concluding 800-meter race. “She’s young and I just can’t wait to see what her future is going to be like in this event.”
Hall’s performance at the world championships capped a phenomenal year for the 21-year-old Colorado native. Coming back from an injury that took her out of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2021, Hall won NCAA titles in the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon, and helped the University of Florida win its first women’s team title at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Her bronze in Eugene marked the first world championship heptathlon medal by an American since 2001.
“It played out better than I could ever have imagined,” Hall says of her landmark season. “Going into the year I was coming off the injury from the Olympic Trials and the foot surgery, so, honestly I didn’t set very much expectations for myself… I was just working with my coaches on trying to give myself grace.”
A month after the world championships, Hall signed a professional contract with Adidas. “It was a really tough decision, because I love NCAA track and field,” says Hall. “I think this year is going to be a little bittersweet, because I’m going to miss the team aspect of the sport. But some things just fell into place and it was the right time. It almost felt like if I didn’t go pro, I was missing something.”
The transition was made easier when her boyfriend, tennis player Ben Shelton, also turned professional last year. The 2022 NCAA men’s singles champion for Florida, Shelton just finished a thrilling run at the Australian Open, his second Grand Slam Tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals and vaulting inside the ATP Tour’s top 50 rankings.
“It’s been really nice to have each other going through the same thing,” Hall says. “It’s been a big transition for both of us, so it’s nice to have someone who gets it.”