Canadian track stars win 2 gold medals in span of an hour at world championships

Canadian track stars win 2 gold medals in span of an hour at world championships

In one hour, Canada tripled its medal total at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

Decathletes Pierce LePage and Damian Warner finished 1-2 on Saturday, the former with a personal-best 8,909 points to become the first Canadian to win world championship gold in the event.

“I don’t think it’s really set in yet,” LePage told CBC Sports’ Andi Petrillo. “It’s so nice to share the podium with [Warner]. We’ve been competing and doing stuff together for so long, it’s just good.”

Edmonton runner Marco Arop got the parade to the medal podium started at 2:35 p.m. ET with his victory in the men’s 800 metres in one minute 44.24 seconds on a humid evening at the National Athletics Centre.

Sarah Mitton, who was named co-captain of the Canadian squad with Arop, then topped 20 metres for the first time this season en route to a silver medal about 45 minutes later after falling one centimetre short of bronze at last year’s worlds in Eugene, Ore. She is the first-ever Canadian woman to pick up a medal in the event.

Canada has six medals ahead of the final day of competition in Hungary, topping the four last year’s team racked up. Hammer throwers Camryn Rogers and Ethan Katzberg won gold earlier this week.

WATCH | LePage delivers personal-best performance in world decathlon: 

Pierce LePage wins historic decathlon title, fellow Canadian Damian Warner claims silver

Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., becomes the first Canadian to win gold in the decathlon at the World Athletics Championships, while London, Ont., native Damian Warner captures silver.

LePage, who hails from Whitby, Ont., will leave Budapest a little sore after twisting his right shoulder in long jump on Friday and having his knee buckle after clearing 1.99m in high jump later in the day. Then, he injured his hamstring before Saturday’s first event, the 110m hurdles.

LePage grabbed a silver medal at worlds last summer behind Frenchman Kevin Mayer, who withdrew on Friday in Budapest after completing the 100 metres and long jump.

In May, LePage picked up his first international win, defeating Warner at the Hypo Meeting in Götzis, Austria to end the London, Ont., native’s win streak at six. LePage earned 2019 Pan Am bronze behind the victorious Warner in Peru.

LePage and Warner began Saturday’s competition in second and third, respectively, through five of the 10 decathlon events. LePage soon climbed to first, a spot he wouldn’t relinquish.

Warner sat second through the 110-metre hurdles, discus and pole vault. He beat his compatriot on the track with a 13.67-second clocking, 10-100ths of a second faster than LePage, who extended his lead placing second in discus with a throw of 50.98m.

WATCH | Donovan Bailey reacts to Canada’s 4 golds, other big moments: 

Donovan Bailey reacts to Canada’s 4 golds, Noah Lyles triple, De Grasse sitting out 4x100m

Host Rob Pizzo is joined by 1996 100m Olympic Champion Donovan Bailey for his reaction to the biggest moments from the final days of the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

‘I fought hard’

Warner was clinging to silver medal position by 15 points over Lindon Victor of Grenada after pole vault. Victor passed Warner by picking up 76 points on the Canadian in javelin. But Warner is strong in the 1,500 and earned 78 more points than Victor in the race to finish with a season-best 8,804. His opponent ended with a national record 8,756.

“I thought every event today I fought hard and [I’m] very proud of myself how I did it,” LePage said.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Rob Pizzo recaps Day 8 of athletics worlds: 

Marco Arop & Pierce LePage strike gold, Warner & Mitton win silver on Day 8 of Worlds | Recap | Athletics North

An historic day for Canada as Arop and LePage become the first-ever Canadian world champions in their events, while Sarah Mitton and Damian Warner land on the podium for a 4 medal haul on Day 8. All this and more in our Athletics North Day 8 recap.

For Warner, Saturday’s silver was the fourth of his career at worlds.

“Pierce beat me today, he was the better man and I’m really happy for him,” said the reigning Olympic champion. “I’m proud of myself for how I fought.”

WATCH | Warner discusses his world championship performance: 

Damian Warner reflects on collecting 4th career medal at worlds

London, Ont., native Damian Warner discusses winning silver in decathlon at the World Athletics Championships.

Arop, the 24-year-old from Edmonton, settled in the back of the pack early on before making a move to the outside around the 500m mark. He took the lead to stay with about 300m to the line and looked strong in the closing metres.

“My best race plan is to be ready for anything and sometimes that’s not having a race plan,” said Arop, the first Canadian to medal on the track at these worlds.  “When the [start] gun [sounded] my body was telling me to be patient.

“I’ve visualized this so many times and seen myself winning, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing. I’m still in disbelief and I gotta give a lot of credit to my coach [Chris Woods], my support team, my family and everybody behind me.”

WATCH | Arop captures gold for 2nd straight world championship 800m medal: 

Canada’s Marco Arop speeds to 800m gold at the worlds

The Edmonton runner captured Canada’s first-ever gold medal in the 800 meters after a dominant second lap.

Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi, the former under-20 world champion who was fastest in heats and set the pace in the semifinals, was second in 1:44.53, followed by Ben Pattison of Great Britain (1:44.83).

In last year’s world final, Arop took the lead with about 300m to the finish but was later passed by Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir and Djamel Sedjati of Algeria in the closing metres.

A path to gold was cleared on Saturday with Korir absent from race. He failed to advance to the semifinals after not fully recovering from a left foot injury suffered in March while Sedjati was disqualified from the final.

WATCH | Arop says he learned ‘valuable lesson’ at Tokyo Olympics: 

Marco Arop ‘still in disbelief’ after winning 800m world title

Edmonton’s Marco Arop reflects on capturing the gold medal in the men’s 800 metres at the World Athletics Championships.

Mitton, who advanced to the women’s shot put final with a throw of 19.37m in the qualification round earlier Saturday, delivered a season-best of 19.90 in her third of six attempts in the final and extended that mark to 20.08 on her fifth try.

“I didn’t feel my best at the beginning,” said Mitton of 19.17 and 19.27 efforts on her first two throws. “[I told myself] I’m going to fight through it and I just had to trust my training.

“[In] the third round I knew it was going to be a dog fight for me, and I’m so happy I ended up with a medal.”

WATCH | Mitton: ‘I’m learning how to perform on a big stage’: 

Sarah Mitton on becoming 1st Canadian woman to earn shot put medal at worlds

Sarah Mitton of Brooklyn, N.S., reflects on her silver medal performance in the women’s shot put final at the World Athletics Championships.

World No. 1 Chase Ealey of the United States rode her 20.35 first throw to back-to-back world titles while China’s Gong Lijiao, who won Olympic gold two years ago, was third with a best throw of 19.69.

The 27-year-old Mitton, who won her third consecutive Canadian title last month, has been simulating morning/evening competition since the start of the year at meets and in training.

“I pretty much spend my whole day training,” the No. 2-ranked Mitton told CBC Sports in July, “but I think it’ll be worth my while because every time I do it, I feel a bit better and throw a bit further.”

After reverting to her technique from recent years in mid-June and throwing 19.54 to win at the Bistlett Games Diamond League meet in Oslo, Norway, the Toronto resident went 19.83 a month later at the Harry Jerome Track Classic in Langley, B.C., and 19.69 at nationals in the same shot circle where she achieved a 20.33 PB at the event a year earlier.

WATCH | Mitton holds off Olympic champion for world silver medal: 

Nova Scotia’s Sarah Mitton claims shot put silver at world championships

Sarah Mitton of Brooklyn, N.S., finishes second in the women’s shot put final at the World Athletics Championships with a distance of 20.08 metres.

Next up for Mitton are competitions in Germany, the Sept. 7 Diamond League in Belgium and probably the Sept. 16-17 Diamond League Final at Hayward Field in Eugene.

Ethiopia dominates women’s marathon

Amane Beriso Shankule led a 1-2 finish by Ethiopia in the women’s marathon on a warm Saturday morning.

Shankule powered through the city streets of Budapest to finish in two hours 24 minutes 23 seconds to edge defending champion and teammate Gotytom Gebreslase. Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi of Morocco took bronze.

Vancouver resident Natasha Wodak clocked 2:30:09 for 15th of 65 finishers in her first marathon since setting a 2:23:12 Canadian record in Berlin in September 2022.

The 41-year-old has battled injury and illness several times since and entered worlds with three victories in four races this year, including one on the track at the Canadian 10,000m championships in June.

Natasha Wodak places top 15 🙌

Wodak finished strong with a Season’s Best time of 2:30:09 in the Marathon placing 15th 🇨🇦😮‍💨

📸: @notafraid2fail/IG#Budapest2023 #WorldAthleticsChamps


On the road, Wodak won her third straight Canadian 10K title, completing the Ottawa course in 32 minutes 51 seconds, and raced half marathons in Vancouver and New York.

Toronto’s Sasha Gollish, also, 41, was the other Canadian in Saturday’s race and placed 61st in a season-best 2:45:09 following a 2:54:43 effort in Ottawa in May.

Lyles, Richardson anchor U.S. sweep of relays

Noah Lyles and Sha’Carri Richardson anchored their 4×100 teams to victories, giving the United States its first sweep of the short relays at world championships since 2007 and a boost of confidence heading into next year’s Olympics.

WATCH | American men claim 4x100m relay gold: 

American men claim 4x100m relay gold at world championships

Noah Lyles, Christian Coleman, Fred Kerley, and Brandon Carnes of the United States win the men’s 4×100 metres relay final at the World Athletics Championships. Lyles captures three gold medals at this year’s competition.

Lyles finished 3-for-3 in Budapest, with wins in the 100, the 200 and the 4×100. He put Jamaican Rohan Watson in his rearview mirror to wrap up a run of 37.38 seconds, good for a win by 24-100ths over Italy and a 0.38 margin over Watson and company.

Marcell Jacobs led Italy to silver in a season-best 37.62.

The U.S. women finished in 41.03, 18-100ths ahead of Jamaica, with Britain finishing third. Richardson will leave Budapest with her two gold, plus a bronze in the 200.

WATCH | U.S. tops podium in women’s 4x100m relay: 

United States sprints to women’s 4x100m relay gold at worlds

Sha’Carri Richardson, Tamari Davis, Twanisha Terry and Gabby Thomas win the women’s 4×100 metres relay final with a championships record time of 41.03 seconds to claim the world title.

In other action Saturday:

  • Canada’s Zoe Sherar, Aiyanna Stiverne, Kyra Constantine and Grace Konrad stopped the clock in 3:23.29, shaving over four seconds off their previous season best of 3:27.60 to qualify for the women’s 4×400 relay final on Sunday at 3:50 p.m. ET.

  • Faith Kipyegon completed the 1,500-5,000 double by running the longer race in a leisurely 14 minutes 53.88 seconds. That was more than 48 seconds off the world record she set earlier this year but still 23-100ths ahead of her friend, Sifan Hassan, who adds this silver to a bronze she won in the 1,500 and an 11th place finish in the 10,000.

  • Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis added a second straight world title by clearing 6.10m, holding off runner-up Ernest John Obiena of the Philippines. Kurtis Marschall of Australia and American Christopher Nilsen shared bronze.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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