By ELLIOTT DENMAN
EUGENE, OREGON - Chalk it up to track and field's dazzling diversity.
There's something in the world's oldest sport for everybody, now so more than ever before. And that's its greatest strength.
Sure Team USA is off to a mighty good start at the 18th World Championships of Track and Field, But Team Rest of the World did a whole lot of first-class catching-up Monday at Hayward Field and environs.
Six finals were on the slate, four for women, two for men,
How's this for sharing the wealth? The gold medals went to six different nations.
The allocation began with the morning's women's marathon run through Eugene and Springfield - won by Ethiopia's Gotyom Gebreslase in an all-time Worlds best clocking of 2: 18:11.
When the action moved back to Hayward Field, Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas took the women's triple jump (15.47 meters), Kenya's Faith Kipyegon the 1500 meters (3:52.96) and Belgium's Nafissatou Thiam the heptathlon (with 6,947 points.). On the men's side, global golds went to 3000-meter steeplechaser Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco (8:25.13) and high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatarr (2.37 meters.)
Consistency sure pays in this sport - this was the fourth Worlds title for Kipyegon, the third for Rojas, Thiam and Barshim.
The silvers were claimed six ways, too - by Kenya's marathoner, Judith Korir; Jamaica's triple jumper, Shanika Ricketts; Ethiopia's 1500 runner, Gudal Tsegay; the Netherlands' heptathlete Anouk Vetter; Ethiopia's steepler Lamecha Girma, and Korea's high jumper Sanhyeok Woo.
Only in the bronze department did Team USA provide a breakthrough, Americans claimed two of those third places with Tori Franklin in the triple jump and Anna Hall in the heptathlon. But the other bronze winners represented four nations: Israeli marathoner Leoah Salpeter, British 1500 runner Laura Muir, Kenya steeple Consensius Kipruto and Ukraine high jumper Andriy Protsenko.
Today's world is definitely not tranquil. Surely not so in Ukraine. Surely filled with unrest in Ethiopia and Venezuela.
Thanks then, track and field, for providing brief "breaks in the action" on tihis multi-faceted Monday while more serious goings-on dot every front page and every edition of the late-night news.
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