Nothing in this world is static. The 2017 IAAF World Championships has shown us that athletics, as with life, marches inexorably onwards. This was the latest chapter in track and field’s forward march.

Main image: Usain Bolt liest on the track after cramp wrecked his hopes of ending his career with a gold medal in the 4x100m relay.

Engaging the youth

Child plays in the long jump pit with Hero the mascot (Olaf Brockmann)

As simple as athletics looks, there is a lot more more to winning than just running fast, throwing far and jumping best – it isn’t the easiest of sports to get people hooked into. That’s exactly why Hero, the mascot for London 2017, should not be shunned as a sideshow. His week-long antics have kept the pace of every session ticking over.

This morning, the affable hedgehog invited kids from the crowd to join him as he built sandcastles in the long jump pit. We don’t know who’s on the inside of that suit, but there should be no doubting that they are doing a great job of extending the appeal of a sport that – let’s face it – can be a tough nut to crack for the casual fan.

Big boys do cry

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You are never too man to shed a tear. Three big men proved so much in London tonight.

First, Johannes Vetter showed his emotional side after clinching gold in the javelin.

Second, Kevin Mayer got something in his eye while listening to La Marseillaise blare out as the decathlon gold medal hung around his neck and Le Tricolore wafted gently before him.

Later, following an incredible anchor leg in the 4x100m, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake struggled to contain the tears after securing Great Brtiain’s second gold medal of this championships.

Pure emotion is what makes this sport worth watching. Thank you, lads.

It’s a championships, not a sprint

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There’s an art to winning a gold medal at a major championships. It’s not just about turning up on the day; you have to navigate the rounds, manage your body and perform at your peak when it matters most. Nowhere were these facts more evident than in the 100m hurdles final, where Australia’s Sally Pearson demonstrated her championship knack to devastating effect.

Though she wasn’t quickest in the heats, the 30-year-old’s fastest time in the semis underlined her medal potential. Her experience showed most prominently in the final. A nerveless performance saw her pull away from WR holder Keni Harrison – who clattered a ton of hurdles on her way to fourth – to take gold in the same stadium where she won the Olympic title five years ago.

The Muktarbot 

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To develop a knack of winning first you have to win. Muktar Edris caused a shock in the men’s 5000m final by preventing Mo Farah from achieving a third consecutive distance double on the track. After crossing the line, the Ethiopian mimicked the Mobot celebration made famous by Farah when he won the first of his Olympic crowns on this same track in 2012.

“I did the Mobot out of respect,” said Edris after the race. He is the first man to break the Briton’s will in a championships final since 2011. That fact counts as testament to the respective achievements of both men.


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Maria Lasitskene goes about her high jumping business with little pizzazz. As endearing as we find her cba attitude, her ponderousness almost cost her in the final tonight.

The 2015 world champion has been the outstanding jumper on the Diamond League circuit this year, but the chill performer’s title defence looked in the balance after two failures at 1.99m – a height she has cleared for fun previously in 2017.

“[Those failures] woke me up,” she admitted. She went on to clear 2.03m at the first time of asking to secure another gold medal, and now goes in search of the world record (which stands at 2.09m) to go with her swag.

Bringing it home

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You wait all week for a home medal then three come at once. After Farah’s silver in the 5k there was another in the women’s 4x100m. The last race of the night – the men’s short sprint relay – then provided the best moment of all for the expectant British fans.

To get a medal, the Brits required perfection in the exchanges and a small slice of luck. In the cauldron of the London Stadium, the young Brits proved up the task, executing three perfect legs to set Mitchell-Blake up for gold and to send the crowd into raptures.

After the enthusiasm of the hosts over the last eight days, the least they deserved were a few medals, even if it did come at the cost of the Usain Bolt farewell party. The ringing in our ears tells us it was worth the wait.