began dominating the women's 100-meter hurdles in 2011 as she won the World Championship in Daegu. After capturing the Olympic gold medal in London she was slowed by an early-season injury in 2013, but seemed to be improving heading into the Moscow Championships. Her key rival was expected to be American Brianna Rollins, who'd turned pro just months earlier and posted sizzling times throughout the summer.
Rollins and Pearson were 1-2 overall in the opening heats, with Rollins winning her heat in 12.55 seconds and Pearson taking hers in a then-season best 12.62. They remained ahead of the field in round two, but this time it was Pearson with the fastest time as she won her semifinal in 12.50 while Rollins won her race in 12.54.
Rollins, running one day before her 22nd birthday, trailed Pearson at the start of the final, but she pulled even midway through the race, then led over the final hurdles to win the gold in 12.44 seconds. Pearson crossed the line in 12.50 to take second, while Great Britain’s Tiffany Porter took third in a personal best 12.55.
The preliminary rounds of the 400-meter hurdles were unusually tough on some notable contenders in Moscow. American Georganne Moline, the third-fastest woman in the world entering the Championships, finished seventh in her opening heat after striking a hurdle and failed to advance. Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica was disqualified for swinging her trail leg around a hurdle, rather than over the obstacle. In the second round, 2012 Olympic champion Natalya Antyukh finished sixth and didn't qualify for the final.
Meanwhile, Great Britain's Perri Shakes-Drayton had the fastest time in the opening heats, finishing in 54.42 seconds. Event favorite Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic was the quickest in round two, winning her semifinal in 53.52. Hejnova then trailed Americans Lashinda Demus and Dalilah Muhammad early in the final, but Hejnova took the lead during the final turn and sprinted away from the field for a dominating victory in a world-leading 52.83 seconds. Muhammad took second in 54.09 with Demus third in 54.27.
4 x 100-Meter Relay:
Baton exchange problems occasionally hindered United States relay teams in the five-year period before the Moscow World Championships. Unfortunately for the Americans, another snafu destroyed their chances in the middle of a tight 4 x 100 race in 2013, allowing Jamaica to run away with the World Championship gold medal. The first two American runners, Jeneba Tarmoh and Alexandra Anderson, ran evenly with Jamaica's Carrie Russell and Kerron Stewart. But the baton wasn't there as U.S. No. 3 runner English Gardner began moving through the exchange zone. Gardner slowed to receive the baton, giving Jamaica's Schillonie Calvert the chance to build an insurmountable lead for anchor
, who led Jamaica to a World Championships record time of 41.29 seconds. France finished second in 42.73. Despite the botched exchange, the U.S. fought back and anchor Octavious Russell nipped Great Britain at the line to salvage a bronze for the Americans in 42.75. The U.S., Jamaica and Great Britain won their preliminary heats, with the U.S. fastest in 41.82.
4 x 400-Meter Relay:
The United States entered the World Championships as the favorite in the women's 4 x 400-meter relay, even though 400-meter ace Sanya Richards-Ross hadn't recovered from off-season surgery in time to compete. But the loss of Allyson Felix to a hamstring injury in the 200-meter final, when combined with Richards-Ross's absence, was too much to overcome.
Russia was the fastest in the heats, winning in 3:23.51, while the U.S. (3:25.18) and Great Britain (3:25.39) won the other heats. Jamaica, which placed second in the final heat, was disqualified from the competition after one of its competitors ran out of her lane.
In the final, Jessica Beard gave the U.S. an early advantage over Russia before handing off to Natasha Hastings. Yulia Gushchina opened for Russia, but it was No. 2 runner Tatyana Firova who closed the gap late in the second lap, then No. 3 runner Kseniya Ryzhova passed American Ashley Spencer, and the Russians never trailed again. Russian anchor Antonina Krivoshapka enjoyed a big lead before American Francena McCorory charged within about a stride in the home stretch, but Krivoshapka held on as the Russians won in 3:20.19 to the U.S. time of 3:20.41. The British team, anchored by Christine Ohuruogu but without the injured Perri Shakes-Drayton, took the bronze in 3:22.61.
Check out the 2013 World Championships main page.