2022 Winter Olympics updates: Best moments, highlights from the Beijing Winter Games

Opening Ceremony - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 0
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The 2022 Winter Olympics officially come to an end today with the Closing Ceremony but let’s not forget that the competition has been extraordinary! See below for just a glimpse into some of the best moments of the 2022 Winter Olympics. If you’ve missed any of the action, click here to find full event replays.

Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch the 2022 Winter Olympics live!

Tonight in primetime (beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET) features an exciting presentation of the Closing Ceremony but NBC has got you covered with a final full day of Olympic coverage. See the schedule below for additional information on how to watch.

How to watch the Closing Ceremony on NBC and Peacock:

  • Closing Ceremony (LIVE) – 7:00 a.m. on Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

  • NBC Daytime Show – 2:00 p.m. NBC, Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

  • Olympic Gold – 7:00 p.m. NBC, Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

  • Closing Ceremony (NBC) – 8:00 p.m. 

RELATED: 2022 Winter Olympics – Every gold medal moment of the Beijing Winter Games

Best Moments from the 2022 Winter Olympics

Mikaela Shiffrin and the U.S. Alpine Skiing team supporting one another! The American team finished fourth after losing to Norway by tiebreaker in the small final.

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue take the Olympic ice for one last time!

Jessie Diggins wins her second medal of the Beijing Games. She is now the most-decorated cross-country American skier ever with three medals, one of every color!

Finland wins its first gold medal in ice hockey!!

Slovakia takes the bronze after a 4-0 win over Sweden in Men’s hockey!

Sweden edges Great Britain for its first Olympic title in men’s curling!

China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong take gold in pairs’ figure skating on home ice!

In her fifth career Olympic event, Elana Meyers Taylor won her fifth overall medal (three silver, two bronze), the most of any female bobsled athlete in Olympic history!

READ MORE: One of the themes of the 2022 Winter Olympics: Women supporting women

China’s Eileen Gu becomes the first freestyle skier to win three medals at a single Games!


Adam Rippon and Mariah Bell embracing after a great performance! Bell finished 10th with a score of 202.30.

ROC’s Anna Scherbakova claims the gold medal in women’s singles!

Thomas Krol wins his second medal at the Beijing Games! He previously won the silver in the 1500m.

Brittany Bowe wins the bronze in the women’s 1000m marking her very first individual medal and her second career bronze (2018 women’s team pursuit).

The women’s hockey tournament came to a close, the U.S. took the silver medal after falling to Canada 3-2 in the gold medal game.

Finland defeats Switzerland 4-0 to defend its bronze medal from PyeongChang!

Americans Alex Hall and Nick Goepper finish 1-2 in the men’s slopestyle!

South Korea’s Choi Min-Jeong defends her gold medal in the Women’s 1500m to pick up her third medal in Beijing (silver in the 1000m and 3000m relay). She is now tied with four other athletes for most career medals (5) by a South Korean athlete at the Olympic Winter Games.

The U.S. took the bronze in the men’s speed skating team pursuit!

Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor win gold and silver medals as monobob makes its Olympic debut!

In the final skate of their Olympic careers, Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue take the bronze in ice dance!

Erin Jackson makes history with a gold medal win in the Women’s 500m. Jackson is the first American woman to win this event since 1994!

Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt wins the gold medal in the men’s giant slalom!

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue scored a personal best 87.13 points in the ice dance competition!

Women’s Monobob made its Olympic debut featuring four-time Olympian Kaillie Humphries competing in her first Games as a U.S. citizen!

Gao Tingyu set an Olympic record of 34.24 while winning China’s first long-track gold medal!

The legs feed the wolf! The U.S. men’s hockey teams takes the 4-2 win over Canada for their first win against Canada in Olympic play since the 2010 preliminary round in Vancouver. 


Baumgartner and Jacobellis get it done for gold in the Olympic debut of Mixed Team Snowboard Cross! It’s the second gold medal in Beijing for Lindsey Jacobellis, who is making her fifth Olympic appearance. Baumgartner takes his first ever Olympic medal in his 4th Games. He becomes the oldest snowboarder ever to win a medal at the Olympics. Watch below for his emotional reaction and celebration!

Short track Olympians Maame Biney and Kristen Santos showing us what team spirit is all about! #LOVETOSEEIT

The U.S. women’s hockey team went down 1-0 early in their quarterfinal matchup with the Czech Republic but rallied for the 4-1 win to advance to the semifinals.

After finishing fourth in what he says will be his final Olympic appearance, American snowboarding legend Shaun White (Carlsbad, California) connects with friends and family at home. White, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, announced before competition that Beijing would be his final Olympics.

After finishing her run in the Women’s Super-G, American Mikaela Shiffrin (Edwards, Colorado) told reporters: “I would never have expected, in this moment, severely underperforming in an Olympics… I would never have felt that humans could be so kind. I never would have expected that.”

And it’s gold for the U.S. in the Olympic debut of Mixed Team Aerials! The win brings the U.S. medal total up to 10, with four golds. 

Mixed Team Aerials, a discipline of freestyle skiing, makes its Olympic debut in Beijing! Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Virginia) kicks off the U.S. team with an impressive opening jump.


A photo finish in men’s snowboard cross! Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT) takes the gold after finishing 17th in Sochi in 2014 and 7th in PyeongChang in 2018. The Austrian grew up idolizing American snowboarder Shaun White

The Quad King is Crowned: Nathan Chen (Salt Lake City, UT) picks up the gold medal in the men’s singles event and solidifies his status as the world’s best male figure skater. Chen won the Olympic title by a 22-point margin with a program that included five quads. After a fifth-place finish in PyeongChang, the 22-year-old Chen accomplishes the goal he set out for as a child and becomes the 7th American man to win Olympic gold in the men’s singles competition.

The figure skaters’ figure skater: Jason Brown (Highland Park, Illinois), known for his artistry and grace on the ice, turns in a triumphant personal best in the free skate. 


Chloe Kim (Torrance, California) throws down a 94-point run to win her second straight Olympic halfpipe gold! She’s the first-ever repeat champion in the history of the women’s halfpipe.

GOLDEN! In her fifth Olympic appearance, Lindsey Jacobellis wins the snowboard cross and the first gold medal for the U.S. here in Beijing. At age 36, Jacobellis becomes the oldest American woman to win a medal at the winter Olympics.


After falling on his run of qualifying, Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) nails an 86.25 to qualify for the final in fourth place. This is the fifth Olympic appearance for White, 35, a three-time Olympic gold medalist who showed his relief immediately after his run:

Colby Stevenson (Park City, Utah) takes the silver in men’s freestyle skiing big air, coming back from multiple injuries in his career, including surviving a significant car crash in 2016. 

It’s a bronze for Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minnesota) in the women’s individual sprint freestyle! After winning gold in the team sprint in 2018 with teammate Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska), Diggins is the first American to win multiple Olympic medals in cross-country skiing. 

Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vermont) takes silver in the Men’s Super-G, just under 50 years after his mother Barbara Ann won gold in the slalom at Sapporo 1972.

Ester Ledecka (CZE) becomes the first-ever repeat Olympic champion in the women’s parallel giant slalom, winning her third Olympic gold medal after taking a surprise gold in the Super-G in PyeongChang. 

Nathan Chen (Salt Lake City, Utah) turns in an incredible performance, recording the highest short program score ever (113.97) and heading into the free skate in first place. After disappointment in PyeongChang, Chen is in solid position to win the first gold medal of his career.

China’s Eileen Gu becomes the youngest freestyle skiing gold medalist in Olympic history!

Netherlands Speed Skater Ireen Wuest picks up her 12th Olympic medal! She is now the first athlete to win individual gold at five Olympics!

Ren Ziwei wins the men’s 1000m gold medal–China’s second gold medal of the Beijing Winter Games!

The U.S. figure skating team took home the silver medal marking the highest American finish since the team event debuted at the 2014 Sochi Games.

ROC’s Kamila Valiyeva becomes the first woman to land a quad at the Winter Olympics…UN-REAL! …But wait there’s more, SHE’S ONLY 15 YEARS OLD!!

Johan Clarey becomes the oldest alpine skiing medalist in history (41 years – 30 days) in his fourth Olympics!

Nils van der Poel wins Sweden’s first long track speed skating medal since 1988! 

U.S. freestyle skier Jaelin Kauf wins silver in women’s moguls!

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott wins New Zealand’s first-ever Winter Olympics gold medal with her final snowboard slopestyle run. The U.S. won their first medal at these Games with a silver for Julia Marino of Westport, Connecticut (more here from NBC Olympics)…

ALL THE FEELS watching the slopestyle finalist’s support Zoi Sadowski-Synnott after an incredible gold-medal-winning run! #DogPile

The first gold medal of the 2022 Winter Olympics goes to Norway’s Therese Johaug in the women’s skiathlon. It’s the 369th Winter Olympic medal for powerhouse Norway, the most of any nation. Natalya Nepryayeva (ROC) took silver and Teresa Stadlober (AUT) took bronze.

Walter Wallberg upsets the defending Olympic champion Mikael Kingsbury (Canada) for Sweden’s first-ever freestyle skiing medal.

Cole McDonald receives an overwhelming amount of heartwarming support from his family back home!

Team USA arrives at the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics.


Nathan Chen delivers in his Beijing debut finishing with a score of 111.71–the second-highest score ever recorded in the short program!

U.S. Olympic curling gold medalist John Shuster tells his family he was chosen to be one of the U.S.’s flag bearers. Watch him walk in the Opening Ceremony tonight!

 Madison Hubbell (Sylvania, OH) and Zach Donohue (Madison, CT) scored a personal-best 86.56 to win the segment!


How to stream the 2022 Winter Olympics on Peacock:

Stream the Olympics on Peacock to never miss a second of the action this year. Peacock will be the streaming home of the Beijing Winter Games offering live stream coverage of every single event–that’s over 2,800 hours of Olympic action. In addition, to live stream coverage of every event, viewers will also be able to enjoy the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, NBC’s nightly primetime show, full replays of all competition available immediately upon conclusion, exclusive daily studio programming, medal ceremonies, extensive highlight clips, and more. Click here to sign up.

How to watch the 2022 Winter Olympics on NBC:

For the second consecutive Winter Games and third overall, NBC will broadcast its primetime Olympic show live across all time zones.

What time does primetime coverage begin each night on NBC?

  • Monday – Friday: 8:00 pm ET
  • Sunday: 7:00 pm ET

RELATED: 2022 Winter Olympics: Sports at the Beijing Winter Games

Be sure to follow OlympicTalk and NBC Olympics for the latest news and updates about the Beijing Winter Games!

Twenty-four minutes at Hayward: Track and field worlds take frenetic turn


EUGENE, Oregon – It is often argued that track and field is too ponderous and sprawling, too slow and too inaccessible for a modern audience whose synapses have been fried and shrunk to a length so short that an entire NBA game can be reduced to a TikTok post featuring one dunk and one dime, and possibly a mascot eating popcorn or a celebrity drinking wine at courtside. That meets are too long and too confusing, with throwing here, and jumping there and running all around and how can anyone be expected to follow it all? Maybe there’s a sliver of truth in all of this. Tastes evolve.

Or just maybe you needed to be here Sunday night at the new Hayward Field on the Day Three of the 18th Track and Field World Championships, and the first in the United States. Maybe you needed to see U.S. athletes win nine medals in a single day, four of them gold, both championship records. Maybe you needed to see a 27-year-old American woman who still logs hours as a cashier at Chipotle, fling the hammer farther than any other woman in the world for a gold medal; or three big American men sweep the medals in the shot; or a tiny 35-year-old Jamaican woman win her seventh global 100-meter championship, establishing herself as maybe the best female track and field athlete in history. Maybe you needed to see a very messy false start, gutting a hometown star.

But there’s helpful news: Most of it happened in a frenetic window shorter than half an inning of a Major League baseball games. Think of it as Twenty-four Minutes at Hayward. (All times approximate, don’t @ me with your timestamps).

7:28 p.m.: A crystalline sky overhead, slowly darkening, temperatures dipping toward the low-70s as if Eugene had put climate change on hold for a night (two nights, actually, as Saturday was splendid as well). A breeze swirling around the new stadium, which was mostly full for the second consecutive night. U.S. pole vaulter Sandi Morris, 30, stands at the end of the runway, safely in possession of a silver medal to match the silvers she won the at the 2016 Olympics, and 2017 and ’19 Worlds, but needing a clearance at 16 feet, ¾ inches to pass teammate Katie Nageotte, the 2021 Olympic gold medalist, and move into first place.

It had already been a successful day for the U.S.: Early in the afternoon, Brooke Andersen, 27 had taken gold in the hammer throw and teammate Janee’ Kassanavoid had won bronze. (They followed DeAnna Price, who won the gold medal at the 2019 Worlds in Doha, Qatar). Both are of the generation of U.S. women’s throwers who were recruited into the sport not because they were big, but because they were explosive athletes, with deep backgrounds in multiple sports. “I played every sport except track and field,” said Kassanavoid. Andersen was a 135-pound soccer player who idolized Mia Hamm. “I didn’t lift a weight until college,” she said. Now she weighs 185lbs and has retained her quickness and agility in the circle. But the life of a thrower has obstacles: Not long ago, Andersen trained while working a total of 60 hours at GNC and Chipotle, and she still snags hours behind the counter at the latter. But she also recently signed a contract with Nike, nudging toward full professional status.

7:29 p.m.: Morris, whose second attempt had been agonizingly close, wasn’t close on the third, leaving Nageotte with gold. “I wanted the gold,” said Morris. “I didn’t do enough to earn it. But 4.90 [meters, the 16-3/4] is a high bar, and everything has to be perfect, and it wasn’t.”

Nageotte spent much of the year battling a post-Olympic emotional letdown that nearly dragged her into retirement. “After the Olympics, I never got a break,” she said. “I got a physical break, but I never got a mental break. It was five years of stress, trying to make the team and win a medal and I really didn’t come back around until the last two months.”

7:31 p.m.: In the shot put ring, no more than 50 feet from the pole vault landing pit, and adjacent to the backstretch of the orange running track, 33-year-old American Joe Kovacs, readied for the fifth of his six throws, chalk spread across his neck. Kovacs won the world title in 2015 and ’19, and had been engaged in a long battle with countryman Ryan Crouser, who has won the last two Olympic golds and last summer broke Randy Barnes’ (suspicious) 31-year-old world record. Kovacs, nearly as wide as tall, launches a throw of 22.89 meters [75 feet, 1 ¼ inches] to take the lead over Crouser by seven inches. “I expected that from Joe,” said Crouser, “because he has such a potential for big throws.”

Kovacs said: “I expected Ryan to come right back and throw far.” They are like domestic partners, finishing each other’s sentences.

7:32 p.m.: On the front straightaway, eight men warmed up for the final of the 110-meter hurdles. The plot was thus: Grant Holloway of the U.S. was favored to win gold in Tokyo, but staggered off the last of 10 hurdles and was second behind Hansle Parchment of Jamaica. They would meet again. Subplot: This would be the last hurdle race for Devon Allen of the U.S. who ran track and played football at Oregon, before trying to make the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster as a receiver and kick returner.

Suddenly Parchment lay on the track, stretching, and then stood and limped off. A narrative-shifting DNS (did not start).

The shot put competition was paused before Crouser’s fifth throw, to give the hurdles center stage. The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Crouser stood alone on the infield in his red U.S. singlet and blue tights.

7:33 p.m.: The starter’s pistol crackled for the hurdles, and then crackled again. A false start. Crouser was called back into the shot ring, unexpectedly quickly. “It’s track, so you know things will go wrong,” said Crouser. “You just have to be prepared.” He was prepared. Crouser initiated rhythmic clapping and then tossed the shot – he makes it appear hollow – and it landed with a puff of pale brown dust, very near Kovacs’s mark.

7:34 p.m.: The meet announcer intones that the false start has been charged to lane three: Devon Allen. There was an audible gasp. Okay, school in session: False starts are assessed through an electronic system that measures how quickly an athlete applied pressure to pads on their starting blocks. If that pressure – the reaction time – is applied sooner than .100 seconds, it is a false start, on the theory that the athlete anticipated the gun, rather than reacting to it. This is an arbitrary number, but in theory with scientific underpinnings. Allen’s reaction time was .099 seconds, meaning that he was disqualified for reacting one one-thousandth of a second too quickly. (His reaction time in the semifinal was .101 seconds, safe by two one-thousandths of a second).

Allen wandered around, shocked. Twice he climbed over a fence to talk with start officials, to no avail. Other runners shuffled about, sympathetic but waiting to run. The scene was reminiscent of the men’s 100 meters at the 2003 Worlds, when Jon Drummond of the U.S. was disqualified for a false start (under different rules) and laid down on the track in protest before eventually leaving. Allen did not lay down on the track. “I know for a fact that I did not false start,” said Allen afterward. “I didn’t react until I heard the gun.”

7:35 p.m.: Crouser’s distance appeared on the small infield video board and is announced: 22.94 meters, three inches beyond Kovacs and into first place. It is a World Championship meet record.

Allen wanders some more, arms outstretched, palms up. Holloway is surprised but not shocked by Allen’s fate and the general state of chaos prevailing: “I’m on Devon’s side; I don’t think he false-started,” Holloway says. “But it’s athletics and, pardon my language, shit happens.”

7:37 p.m.: An official theatrically raises a red and black card at Allen, officially disqualifying him from the race. There are boos. There is murmuring. Shit happens. Allen walks off the track, under the grandstand and out of sight. The other hurdlers line up, only six of them. No Parchment, no Allen. Holloway, in lane four, will run with empty lanes on both sides. It’s a lousy look.

My take: On the one hand, it’s preposterous that Allen was allowed to run with a reaction time of .101 seconds and tossed for a reaction time of .099 seconds, and thus deprived of running in the most important race of his life (with Oregon fans similarly deprived, a buzzkill moment on an otherwise thrilling day). And he did not appear to move, whereas most false starts come with some visible backup. (A false start in the women’s 100-meter semifinals also looked very iffy). On the other hand, there has to be a false start rule of some kind. Older versions, in which a runner was disqualified for two false starts, led to long delays and runners throwing flyers indiscriminately. More to the point, there was no solution available in the moment. You can’t just give the batter four strikes on the spot because three is a bad rule (or because he’s popular). But it was a downer in the building.

7:39 p.m.: Holloway rolled to his second consecutive world title – around that Olympic silver – in 13.04 seconds. “Parchment goes down, Devon false started, which he didn’t, but it happened,” said Holloway. “You say to yourself, ‘Focus, just be the first one to the line, like any other race.’” Trey Cunningham of the U.S. took silver, a one-two U.S. finish. “Not my best race,” said Cunningham. “But it’s a shiny medal.”

7:43 p.m.: Kovacs’s last throw was short of Crouser’s mark. Crouser’s last throw – “I just swung for the fences,” he said – is a foul. The bronze medal goes to 27-year-old American Josh Awotunde, who recovered from a spring pectoral strain, spent time living with Crouser and under his wing, and threw an 11-inch personal best on his first throw. It was the first 1-2-3 shot put sweep in Worlds history and followed up the U.S. sweep in the men’s 100 meters Saturday night. There would be one more, not by Americans.

7:46 p.m.: Seven Americans wore flags and worked their way around the track, not together, but in synch, celebrating, posing. Morris and Nageotte on the first turn. Crouser, Kovacs and Awotunde on the backstretch. Holloway and Cunningham on the far turn. A couple firetrucks, a marching band and it could have been a parade. The track was cleared for one last event.

7:52 p.m.: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, 35 years old and five feet tall, ripped away from the blocks and bounded to a gold medal in the 100 meters in 10.67 seconds, a world championship record. She won Olympic 100-meter gold medals in 2008 and 2012 (along with a bronze in Rio in 2016 and a silver behind Elaine Thompson-Herah last year in Tokyo) and has won the 100 meters at five of the last seven worlds. She is the only woman to break 10.70 seconds five times (Thompson-Herah has done it four times; Flo-Jo did it three times). There is little doubt Fraser-Pryce is the best female sprinter in history and quite possibly the best in all events. It’s a worthy discussion.

“This is my favorite title, doing it at 35,” said Fraser-Pryce. “ Yes, I said 35. Age doesn’t change anything. If I’m healthy, I’m going to compete and I’m not going to stop until I don’t believe that.” Shericka Jackson followed Fraser-Pryce for silver and Thompson-Herah for bronze, a sweep to match the U.S. men 24 hours earlier. They too, each grabbed the familiar Jamaican flags. Fans began descending from their seats and spilled into the concourse. A breeze stiffened from the north. Seven more days remain.

Fred Kerley stakes his claim to Usain Bolt’s throne in Eugene


EUGENE, Oregon – It is accepted in track and field, both in silence and aloud, that there will likely never be another Usain Bolt. There will never be an athlete with Bolt’s ethereal combination of speed, presence and joy. Never another with Bolt’s relentless seizure of moments and of history. Never another with his ability to hoist a niche (being kind here) sport, throw it across his shoulders – or clench it in his radiant smile like a pirate’s scabbard – and make it not just relevant, but viral. He ran faster than any human, more gleefully than should be allowed, and pulled an entire ecosystem along in his slipstream. He was a unicorn.

On the other hand, never is a long time. Track and field did not stop contesting meets or 100- and 200-meter races when Bolt left to start a family of children with weather-themed names. Bolt has been gone for half a decade; his last races were at the 2017 World Championships, and they were not pretty. Two years later, Christian Coleman of the U.S. took the world title, decisively, in 9.76 seconds. He was a short, explosive sprinter in mold of 2000 Olympic gold medalist Maurice Greene, and he was just 23 years old. There was much promise. But subsequently Coleman got sideways with the doping police (three whereabouts failures, meaning he did not test positive but missed too many tests), was suspended for two years, and missed the 2021 Olympics. (He is back, but keep reading).

The post-Bolt 100 meters was left adrift, missing the big man and not just his schtick, but his speed. Missing a logical successor. Italian Marcell Jacobs was the longshot winner of the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and bless his Texas-born heart, Jacobs will never buy another bottle of wine in his country, but he was not the heir to Bolt’s greatness. He was a one-off, entertaining and perfect on the day when it mattered most, but perhaps never again. Track was left still searching – turning over rocks in the wood, to find only moss and mud.

Until now. Maybe. Not that it has discovered another Bolt, but perhaps another unicorn. (Hold the eyerolls and stay with me). Perhaps a worthy king, if not a worthy successor.

On Saturday night at the new Hayward Field, Day Two of the 18th World Track and Field Championships and the first in the United States, 27-year-old Fred Kerley – just three years ago one of the best 400-meter runners in the world, until improbably dropping down to the 100 meters last year (and winning Olympic silver) – won the 100-meter final in a time of 9.86 seconds. He was just .02 seconds in front of two other U.S. sprinters, silver medalist Trayvon Bromell and bronze medalist Marvin Bracy. It was the first 1-2-3 100-meter sweep at the worlds since 1991, when Americans Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell and Dennis Mitchell pulled off the sweep. The U.S. had also swept the medals at the first worlds in 1983, with Lewis, Calvin Smith and Emmit King.

In an interview on the track, broadcast to the near-capacity crowd, Kerley shouted, “We said we were gonna do it, and we did it. USA, baby.”

Kerley is big (6-foot-3 ½) like Bolt (6-foot-5). He is, for the moment, nearly unbeatable, like Bolt, although not really like Bolt yet. Kerley is fast, and while not as fast as Bolt’s best times, he seems poised to challenge Tyson Gay’s 13-year-old American record of 9.69 in a competition without exhausting rounds. At the very least, Kerley has earned the title of world’s fastest human; at the very most, he has the potential to earn much more. As for showmanship, that might take some time; as effusive as Bolt was, that is how taciturn Kerley is. That would not matter in some sports, but it matters in track and field, where TV ratings cannot thrive on performance alone. But stay tuned. There were signs that this, too, could change, right after the race. (And it is notable that Bolt’s manager, Ricky Simms, is also Kerley’s manager. “They communicate all the time,” says Simms. “Usain has really been a great mentor to Fred.”)

Kerley came into the race a heavy favorite. He has been the dominant 100-meter runner in the world since last year’s Olympics and ran the world’s best of 9.76 at the U.S. Championships in June. He matched that time in Friday night’s heats here.

He was less dominant in the final. Kerley broke from the blocks in lane four, stride with Bracey in three, and they ran nearly in lockstep for 90 meters before Kerley snatched a sliver of daylight and then leaned cautiously, chest forward, arms wide, like a man trying to savor a summer breeze on a warm evening. He had beaten Bracey narrowly, though clearly. But far out in lane eight, running blind, Bromell had left Coleman – back in the game after his suspension – behind and closed furiously to nearly catch Kerley at the line.

Kerley applied the brakes, came to a full stop in the middle of the turn and stared up at the giant video board, as if willing his name to appear first. It did. Kerley threw both hands into the air, and a meet worker draped his gold medal around his neck. And then Kerley snagged the medal from around his neck and alighted on a delirious victory lap, slapping hands with front-row spectators and waving his arms while the medal’s cloth lanyard dangled toward the ground. It seemed his lap was nearly in the 43-second range that he had once run, and the display was, dare we say, Bolt-esque.

“I was talking about that before that race,” said Kerley. “Thinking about, ‘What should I do?’ Then I decided I would do that. Man, in my position in life, where I come from, it’s a blessing every day to wake up and breathe. So I’m thankful for that. And I’m thankful for this gold medal.” Hold that thought.

Bracy’s silver was his first global medal; Bromell’s was his first since 2015, when he was third in the worlds in Beijing. He subsequently twice tore his Achilles tendon, potentially ending his career. On the track Saturday night, he cried openly. “Tears of joy,” he said. “First medal in seven years. So yeah, tears of joy.” As to racing in lane eight, Bromell said, “Not to throw shade, but I wish I had been next to those guys. I might have timed my lean a little differently.” That sounded like shade. “Nah,” said Bromell. “Those are my guys.”

Kerley said he never saw Bromell. “Me and my lane,” he said.

As to Kerley referencing where he came from, that would be Taylor, Texas, a town of about 15,000, 35 miles northeast of Austin. Kerley was raised by an aunt in a home with 13 cousins and little means. He played football and basketball and ran track in high school, but didn’t devote serious training time to sprinting until his senior in high school, when a broken collarbone curtailed his football season and shortened basketball’s. “So I started running track more seriously,” Kerley told Track and Field News in 2019. “I didn’t have the greatest times.” He split 46.9 on a relay, which is actually not shabby, but might seem slow in his rearview mirror.

Kerley went to junior college and in 2014, made his first trip to Eugene, for USA Nationals. According to U.S. team chiropractor Josh Glass, who is close with Kerley, Kerley flew to Portland, took a bus to Eugene, ran poorly and ran out of money, subsisting on popcorn, and then bummed a ride back to Portland. Simms says, “If Fred seems hesitant to open up, it’s because he’s not quick to trust people because of the way he’s lived a lot of his life.”

But he got faster. He transferred to Texas A&M, where in 2017, he ran 43.70 to break 1992 Olympic gold medalist Quincy Watts’ collegiate record.

He made the world team that summer and finished seventh in London. Two years later he took a bronze medal in the worlds in Doha and a ran a personal best of 43.64 seconds, sixth-fastest ever by an American. He seemed assured of a lucrative career in an event the U.S. has long dominated. Then came the pandemic lull, and a gradual return. Kerley began running 100s and 200s, while never disavowing the 400. A year ago, he ran 9.78 and finished third at the Olympic Trials and took a silver medal (beyond Jacobs) in the Gamers. His transition was complete.

He became one of those athletes who comes to track and field greatness not in a straight line, but through a maze of trial and error, finding success in one event, only to find more success in another one.

U.S. women’s shot putter Chase Ealey, 27 years old like Kerley, is another one. Early in her high school career she was a champion sprinter and thrower, only to later emphasize the shot and eventually to make that her main event. (It is not as strange a shift as it might seem – both sprints and throws require explosive power. “A lot of throwers were sprinters,” Ealey said before the meet). On Saturday night, 15 minutes before Kerley folded himself into the blocks, she became the first American woman to win a world outdoor championship in the shot (Michelle Carter won three medals as well as the Olympic gold medal in 2016). Track and field has always been a something-for-everyone sport, occasionally in the same athlete.

It’s important to emphasize: Sprinters often move up in distance, as sharpness fades and speed endurance becomes more accessible than pure 100-meter explosives. They rarely move down. They even more rarely move down from excellence in the 400 to even greater excellence in the 100. “Maybe way back in history,” says NBC’s Ato Boldon. “Not in modern times that I can think of.” (A note here: Bolt was strictly a 200-meter runner early in his career, until he dropped down to the 100 in 2008 and twice broke the world record and won Olympic gold. So there is that, and it was stunning at the time, and in retrospect, stripped of what Bolt did afterward, still is).

Kerley’s range is stunning: He is one of only three men to run sub-10 for the 100 meters, sub-20 for the 200 meters and sub-44 for the 400 meters. The others are Michael Norman of the U.S. and 400-meter world record holder Wayne Van Niekerk of South Africa. Notably, both of them remain 200 to 400 specialists, while Kerley now owns the 100 and will also run the 200 meters here, a pure sprinter.

And as darkness fell on Eugene, the best in the world, next in the line of succession.