LONDON — Wil London is coming back to Waco with a medal, even if it wasn’t the one the Americans expected.
Trinidad and Tobago’s anchor runner Lalonde Gordon ran down Fred Kerley of the U.S. in the final of the 4x400 at the World Track and Field Championships, giving Trinidad and Tobago its first-ever world title in the event.
It also broke a string of six straight 4x400 world titles for the Americans, who still posted a season-best time of 2:58.61. But Trinidad and Tobago’s time of 2:58.12 was a world-best.
London, the Waco native and Baylor sophomore, again pushed the Americans out to a great start, ripping off the fastest split time at 44.08 seconds. Trinidad and Tobago began to challenge the USA’s Gil Roberts on the second leg, pulling close by the handoff, and continued to close the gap on the third leg.
On the anchor, Gordon chased down Kerley – the 2017 NCAA champion from Texas A&M – to give Trinidad and Tobago the victory.
“People don’t realize, (it’s a big deal) to just get a medal when you’ve got everybody in the world there,” said longtime Baylor track coach Dlyde Hart. “We’re kind of spoiled that if you don’t get first place, second doesn’t mean anything. But, I’m sure (London) is proud of the silver medal. Yeah, they’re disappointed. They went in thinking they could win. But you’ve got to analyze it, there were three collegiate kids on that (USA) relay team.”
London also ran the leadoff leg in Saturday’s semifinals.
“I was proud of Wil just to be able to make the team and represent the United States, not only on the relay but in the open (400),” Hart said. “He made it to the semis, which that was one of our goals. Realistically, we didn’t think he could get into the finals. But, he was 12th in the world. He went to the USA Championships ranked 17th in the United States and ended up being 12th in the world and third in the United States. So, he finished strong.”
The Americans’ medal haul of 10 golds, 11 silvers and nine bronzes marked their best finish ever at the IAAF World Championships.