Upsets allow for new champions to emerge in Eugene

Runners, throwers and jumpers emerged from the shadows during day five of competition to claim titles in 400m hurdles, the 1500m, discus and hurdles

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Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Men's 400 Metres Hurdles - Final - Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, U.S. - July 19, 2022 Brazil's Alison dos Santos celebrates after winning the men's 400 metres hurdles final and setting a new world championship record REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Men's 400 Metres Hurdles - Final - Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, U.S. - July 19, 2022 Brazil's Alison dos Santos celebrates after winning the men's 400 metres hurdles final and setting a new world championship record REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Day five of the World Athletics Championships brought surprising results with upsets across multiple events. Most notably, the 400m men’s hurdle finals brought a new world champion out of Brazil, marking the first time a runner from South America would medal in the event.

Last year in Tokyo, Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin duked it out for the top spot on the podium in the 400m final. Warholm of Norway edged out America’s Rai Benjamin with both finishing inside the world record time. Warholm ran a 45.94 while Benjamin finished just behind with a 46.17. Coming in third was none other than Tuesday night’s winner, Alison Dos Santos of Brazil with a time of 46.72.

This summer, Dos Santos made even more of a name for himself by winning his first World Championship title and doing so in style with the third fastest time in the history of the event. The 22-year-old recorded a 46.29 on Tuesday setting a new Brazilian record, a South American record, a Hayward Field record, and a U.S. All-Comers record and a Championships record.

Following the race, Dos Santos said, “I am so happy. The energy of the crowd was amazing. I felt their love, people hugging me. When you win, you start being everyone’s favorite.” While Dos Santos may feel like he is loved strictly for winning the title, the upset is what sports fans feed off of even when it happens on their own home turf.

In another shocking upset, Jake Wightman of Great Britain ran the race of his life in the 1500m to claim the gold over Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen. Wightman crossed the finish line with a personal-best 3:29.23, but it was a sprint to the finish with Ingebrigtsen hot on his tail. The silver medal winner crossed the finish line just behind with a time of 3:29.47 and Spain’s Mohamed Katir won the bronze after finishing in a time of 3:29.90.

Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Men's 1500 Metres - Final - Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, U.S. - July 19, 2022 Britain's Jake Wightman crosses the line to win the men's 1500 metres final REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Men's 1500 Metres - Final - Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, U.S. - July 19, 2022 Britain's Jake Wightman crosses the line to win the men's 1500 metres final REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The track was not the only place where athletes were finding a different gear and winning golds that were unexpected. Slovenian Kristjan Čeh took home some gold hardware in men’s discus after throwing 71.13m. Just three years ago in Doha, Čeh finished 31st out of 32 throwers and clearly did not make the finals. This year, however, Čeh won 13 of his 14 competitions losing only one to Olympic champion Daniel Stahl.

Following the first place finish, Čeh said, “I knew I had the ability to produce a big throw, but this is a major championship. Of course the main goal was to secure the spot, but the best bit was the 71 meter throw. It was a fast circle here, but everybody has the same conditions and you just need to trust yourself. We have some time before the European Championships and I want to be the best there too.”

Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Women's High Jump - Final - Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, U.S. - July 19, 2022 Gold medallist Australia's Eleanor Patterson celebrates with the flag of Australia after winning the women's high jump final REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Women's High Jump - Final - Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, U.S. - July 19, 2022 Gold medallist Australia's Eleanor Patterson celebrates with the flag of Australia after winning the women's high jump final REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Conditions seemed to be right at the high jump pit for Australian Eleanor Patterson as she won the competition with a 2.02m clearance on her first attempt. Ukrainian Yarolsava Mahuchikh took the silver also clearing 2.02, but needed two attempts to do so. This year’s competition was burst wide open after the Russian favorite, Mariya Lasitskene, was banned from competing. Lasitskene is a three-time world medallist and Toyko 2020 gold winner, but due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the banning of all Russian and Belarussian athletes, she was not able to defend her stellar reputation at the high jump pit.

With several days left in the competition, there is plenty of room for more upsets and excitement both on the track and at the field events.