Nothing could've pleased the Moscow World Championship crowd more on Tuesday than to see Russian favorite Yelena Isinbayeva win her first outdoor global title since the 2008 Olympics. As usual, Isinbayeva was the last pole vaulter to enter the competition, and she promptly sent a chill through the crowd by missing her first attempt at 4.65 meters (15 feet, 3 inches). She then cleared on her second try, flew over 4.75/15-7, then required two vaults to clear 4.82/15-9¾, leaving her in second behind American Jenn Suhr. But Isinbayeva then cleared 4.89/16-½ on her first try, while Suhr and Cuba's Yarisley Silva failed three times apiece, leaving Isinbayeva with her third outdoor World title. She concluded the evening by trying to break her own world record. Isinbayeva missed three times at 5.07/16-7½, but she played to the crowd throughout her attempts and very obviously savored every minute in the spotlight. Isinbayeva previously said she'd retire after the Championships, but she hedged in recent days, so we'll have to wait to find out if we'll ever see Isinbayeva vault again.
On the track, the expected LaShawn Merritt-Kirani James showdown in the 400 meters was over at around 300. Merritt started fast and entered the back straight with a big lead, at which point James faded and dropped back to seventh place. Merritt pushed all the way to the line to win in a world-leading 43.74 seconds, regaining the title he previously won in 2009. Fellow American Tony McQuay finished second in a personal best 44.40, followed by Leguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic in 44.52.
Ukraine's Ganna Melnichenko ran a personal best 2:09.85 in the 800 meters to clinch the heptathlon gold medal with 6,586 points. Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton, wife of decathlon winner Ashton Eaton, added a silver medal to the family's collection, finishing with 6,530. Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands trimmed about seven seconds from her 800-meter personal best, running 2:08.62 to solidify her hold on third place, with 6,477 points.
Robert Harting of Germany gained his third consecutive World Championship discus competition, leading from the second round forward and topping out at 69.11/226-8 in the fourth round. Poland's Piotr Malachowski sat in third early in the competition but improved steadily and reached 68.36/224-3 in the fifth round to earn the silver medal. Gerd Kanter of Estonia threw 65.19/213-10 in the second round, then fouled on his last four tries but hung on for the bronze.
Kenya's Milcah Chemos Cheywa has dominated steeplechase competition for much of the past two years, but her excellence hadn't translated into a global championship, until Tuesday. Cheywa led most of the way and prevailed down the stretch to win in a world-leading 9:11.65. The race quickly settled into a six-runner battle with three Kenyans and three Ethiopians. Ethiopia's Sofia Assefa dropped back a bit after falling on the penultimate lap, and the leaders were strung out in a line entering the final lap. Cheywa and fellow Kenyan Lidya Chepkurui pulled ahead, then Assefa made a late run and passed fellow Ethiopian Hiwot Ayalew to gain the bronze. Chepkurui finished in a personal best 9:12.55 while Assefa ran 9:12.84.
Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia surged down the home straight to take the victory in the men's 800-meter final. Duane Solomon led at the bell before fellow American Nick Symmonds shot past, followed by Aman and Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti. Aman then continued his momentum and moved into first, winning in 1:43.31. Symmonds held second in 1:43.55 with Souleiman gaining his country's first-ever World Championship medal on the track, in 1:43.76.
Australia's Zoe Buckman was the surprise leader among 1500-meter qualifiers, running a personal best 4:04.82. Sweden's Abeba Aregawi won the second semifinal in 4:05.66. Defending World champion Jenny Simpson qualified for Thursday's final, as did 17-year-old American Mary Cain, who'll be the youngest runner to appear in a 1500-meter World Championship final.
Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic won her 400-meter hurdles semifinal in 53.52 seconds, while Great Britain's Perri Shakes-Drayton won the second semi in 53.92. Olympic champion Natalya Antyukh finished sixth in the second heat and didn't qualify for the final. Americans Lashinda Demus and Dalilah Muhammad should also be key contenders in Thursday's final. Omar Cisneros of Cuba led the men's 400 hurdles qualifiers, winning the third heat in 47.93 seconds. Jehue Gordon of Trinidad& Tobago and American Michael Tinsley won the other heats. Two Americans, including Kerron Clement, qualified for Thursday's final, but Bershawn Jackson dropped out early in the first heat with an apparent hamstring pull.
Wednesday's World Championships schedule only includes a morning session, highlighted by the men's 50-kilometer race walk final.