The Price of a World Championship Gold

By Kyle Merber

September 6, 2023

What do Gianmarco Tamberi, Josh Kerr, Grant Holloway, Neeraj Chopra, Karsten Warholm, Marco Arop, Hugues Fabrice Zango, Laulauga Tausaga, Daniel Stahl, and Katie Moon* all have in common in addition to being 2023 World Champions? They all lost the next week.

  • Tamberi finished 4th in both Zurich (2.28m) and Bellinoza (2.24m)
  • Kerr was passed on the inside by Yared Nuguse, who won by .02 seconds
  • Holloway placed third in Xiamen in 13.12
  • Chopra lost by 15 cm to Vadlejch
  • Warholm (47.30) could not hold off silver medalist Kyron McMaster
  • Arop was out leaned at the finish by Emmanuel Wanyonyi in a 1:43.20 WL
  • Zango (17.22m) took second to Andy Díaz, who was not eligible to compete at Worlds due to an allegiance change
  • Laulauga (64.31m) was third, with three scratches in China
  • Stahl was beaten by Čeh in Tallinn, but got him back five days later
  • Moon was out-jumped by co-gold medalist Nina Kennedy at a train station in Zurich but odds were someone would get beat this time

I don’t normally like pointing out who lost as we try to keep things POSITIVE over here at The Lap Count but that seems like a significant number of champions who went from the top of the world to right back into the fray in a short period of time. It’s a testament to a couple of things:

  1. These world champions (hopefully!) celebrated their asses off and were feeling a bit heavy-legged from staying up late and dancing in the streets of Budapest. Even if they lived monastically once the gold was secured, the emotional comedown from the experience has got to be taxing on its own.
  2. The margin between winning and losing a world title is so slim, that it’s really just about being at your best on one single day, which involves some luck. If the finals were held ten different times, depending on the event, there might be three to six different champions crowned.

This is why I’ll defend athletes who want to call it a season and go out on a high if they had a successful World Champs.

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Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.