On Saturday night at the London Stadium, a Jamaican Olympic 100m champion stood on the start line as favourite to add another world crown to their collection, only to see the US sprinter who they beat to gold in Rio surprisingly take the honours.
On Sunday, there was a collective sense of déjà vu, as Tori Bowie, the Olympic silver medallist last year, came from behind to take her first world title in 10.85, when Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson had been widely tipped by many to prevail.
Thompson had the slowest reaction time in the field, 0.200, and got off to an equally slow start, much like Usain Bolt 24 hours previously, but there the similarities with the men’s race ended.
The 25-year-old couldn’t make it back into contention and finished a distant fifth in 10.98, considerably slower than the 10.84 that she had produced two and a half hours previously in her semifinal.
Instead, the battle for gold was between the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou and the 26-year-old Bowie, both of whom had won their earlier races in similar dominant fashion.
In the final it was Ta Lou who ran the best first 60m, speeding ahead of the field and with 30 metres remaining the title was within her grasp.
Bowie, however, had other ideas, reeling the Ivorian in and appearing to charge for home, reducing the margin from two metres to one, and then lunging for the line.
A spectacular fall, which also brought Murielle Ahoure tumbling to the ground, followed a perfectly timed dip, and it all meant that Bowie edged it by 0.01. 10.85 was a season’s best for the US champion, while Ta Lou’s 10.86 equalled the personal best that she set in finishing fourth in Rio.
The two athletes looked up at the stadium screen, neither knowing which had won, until the result was displayed and the two embraced, tears falling from Ta Lou’s eyes.
Bowie then gingerly embarked on a lap of honour, the pain from her grazed leg no doubt eased by the knowledge that she had earned a gold medal.
Amid the drama, Dafne Schippers almost sneaked through unnoticed, taking the bronze medal, despite having the slowest season’s best of all eight finalists ahead of the race and starting in the outside lane.
Ta Lou’s Ivorian teammate Ahoure was awarded fourth, the photo finish showing that she was 0.002 ahead of Thompson.
Despite the disappointment, Thompson was gracious in defeat and allayed any concerns that she was carrying an injury.
“I have to give those three girls a lot of credit, so a big congratulations to them,” she conceded. “I didn't execute my race which is a shame, but I'm healthy.”
She was at a loss to explain a result that she certainly hadn’t anticipated.
“I don't know what happened. I just wanted to get a good start but they raced well. I'll have to watch the video back because I don't know what went wrong.”
Bowie, three times previously an individual global medallist but without a title, confessed to feeling the after-effects of her heroics, but confirmed that she would be back to contest the 200m on Tuesday.
“The dive doesn’t feel too good now. But that has saved me at championships in the past. I never give up until I’m over the line.”
Meanwhile, Ta Lou was more pleased to secure silver than disappointed to miss out on gold.
“I am just happy to have this medal,” she explained. “It is a dream come true. I didn’t expect to be in the top three because all the girls have the power and talent to make the podium.”
One of those was Schippers, who admitted to a poor start.
“My start was not great, but I made it back into the race. I knew it was going to be tough. Everyone has been running well, so it was going to be difficult to get in the medals, so I'm happy to do it.”
Dean Hardman for the IAAF