Shot putter Chase Ealey wins first U.S. gold at world championships
Shot putter Chase Ealey’s red, white and blue nails and matching makeup paired well with this: Team USA’s first world championship gold medal.
Not a bad early birthday present either. Ealey, who turns 28 in four days, ended up winning the event on his first attempt on Saturday night at Hayward Field. Her opening throw was 67 feet 2¾ inches (20.49 meters) and dethroned two-time defending world champion Gong Lijiao of China.
Within minutes, Ealey won the honor of America’s first gold medal at the first world championships held in the United States. Moments later, Fred Kerley led an American sweep to the 100.
“I didn’t quite take in the information that this happened,” said Ealey, who became the first Team USA outdoor world champion in the women’s shot put. “It feels really good.”
To remind himself to relax and breathe during big encounters, Ealey glances at his forearm.
She has “breathe” tattooed on it. This competition certainly left her speechless.
After his first attempt, no one could match him. This is the first time a pitcher has won the competition at the world championships on her first attempt at the final.
It’s all part of his plan.
“I warmed up more than I competed, which happens a lot,” she explained. “I felt really good – every throw was 20 (yards). I was just like, ‘OK, I think I can do this.’ As soon as I walked in and heard the cheers of the crowd, I knew this was coming. I felt really good about it.
For Gong’s final attempt, Ealey found a vantage point from which she could instantly tell whether she would end up with gold or silver.
It was gold.
After her last attempt—a scratch—she buried her face in her hands before heading to the bleachers, where her family was waiting for her.
As for makeup, “it’s a whole thing,” she explained. The smear was caused by another reason.
“I don’t always cry into oblivion and I have people who have to fan me,” said Ealey, who went to high school in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and attended the state of Oklahoma. “Everything is incredible. I feel like I’ve done a lot of firsts and I’m really proud of that.”
OUT OF POWER
Exhaustion caught up with Ferdinand Omanyala in the 100m semi-final. The Kenyan sprinter who arrived late in Oregon due to visa issues didn’t have his normal brilliance near the finish line. He finished fifth in his heat in 10.14 seconds and did not make the final.
“Tired,” he said.
His visa finally approved, Omanyala embarked on a long journey to get to the starting line in time. He traveled from Nairobi to Doha to Seattle and finally to the track in Eugene, Oregon, just in time for the first round on Friday. His case was one of 375 that had been reported to local organizers, World Athletics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
“The times I’m running are the (slowest) times I’ve run this season, which means it’s really affected my performance,” he said. “We’re just moving on from everything that’s happened and picking ourselves up.”
He’s heading to Birmingham, England next week for the Commonwealth Games.
“I hope this time I will arrive earlier,” he said.
American sprinter Twanisha Terry wore 10 different strands of pearls around her waist when she qualified for the first round of the 100 meters. The beads were adorned with jewels including stars, a skull and a lightning bolt.
“I just love them for the fashion, for the design,” Terry explained.
The 23-year-old from Miami clocked 10.95 seconds. Terry was one of six women to go under 11 seconds. Dina Asher-Smith of England clocked the fastest first lap time of 10.84 seconds.
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the blocks with long purple hair. She won her round in her quest to defend her world title.
“I love coloring my hair,” Fraser-Pryce said. “When you’re at big competitions you want to have something to occupy your time and coloring my hair is one of those things.”
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