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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. and Russia Take Helsinki by Storm

APIsinbayeva set another world record.
HELSINKI -- Lauryn Williams won her second gold medal at the World Athletics Championships by anchoring the U.S. women's 400-meter relay team to a world-leading time and Dwight Phillips won his second successive long-jump title on his first leap Saturday.

Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva set a new world record in the women's pole vault, which had been postponed from Wednesday to Friday because of bad weather.

But another botched relay performance and confusion surrounding Allyson Felix's absence from the U.S. 400-meter squad marred Saturday's otherwise distinguished array of fine performances.

One day after the favored U.S. men's 400-meter team dropped the baton and failed to finish, Suziann Reid, Monique Hennagan, Moushaumi Robinson and Monique Henderson were disqualified for multiple lane infractions in the 1,600-meter relay. USA Track and Field officials said the violations weren't specified, but replays appeared to show that Reid ran out of her lane and that Robinson lined up incorrectly on the second exchange. A U.S. appeal of the disqualification was rejected.

The 400-meter team moved the baton safely minus Felix, who had been announced as the leadoff runner despite her habit of starting slowly. The 200-meter champion was replaced about nine hours before the race by Angela Daigle, who led off in Friday's first-round heat. The decision was made by Brooks Johnson, who oversees USATF's relay program.

The weather-enforced pole vault delay provided a dry night for Isinbayeva to steal the show, clearing 5.01 meters, 1 centimeter higher than when she broke the 5-meter barrier at the Crystal Palace meet July 22 in London. She has set the world record 18 times, indoors and out, nine times this year.

"No limit," she said after overcoming a pesky wind to clear the bar on her second try. "I don't believe I did it in this difficult weather. The stadium is wonderful and the crowd is good."

Isinbayeva is halfway to her goal of 36 world marks, one more than the great Sergei Bubka accomplished. At 23, the charismatic Russian looks like she has a good shot. She started smiling before she hit the mat on her record vault, then raised her arms in triumph and did a back flip to celebrate. She posed in front of the sign that showed her record height, then wrapped a Russian flag around herself, giving the television camera a coy grin.

"She's a personality, not only for sports," said Bubka, now an IAAF official. "She is very intelligent, and she's a star outside of sports."

Sergei Kirdyapkin and Aleksei Voyevodin took the top two places in the 50-kilometer walk.


Martin Meissner / AP

Russia's Olga Kuzenkova throwing for gold in the hammer event on Friday.

In the women's hammer event, Olga Kuzenkova won the gold medal with a toss of 75.10 meters. Yipsi Moreno of Cuba was second with a throw of 73.08, followed by Tatyana Lysenko of Russia with 72.46.

U.S. officials protested the 400-meter hurdles victory of Russia's Yuliya Pechonkina on the grounds that she wrapped her lead leg around a hurdle, but the protest was denied. Pechonkina, the world record holder, recorded the best time in the world this year, 52.90, and was followed by Americans Lashinda Demus and Sandra Glover in 53.27 and 53.32, respectively.

Phillips, 28, matched his personal best of 8.60 meters on his first jump at Olympic Stadium and didn't come close again in fouling on his last five tries. He didn't have to worry: Ignisious Gaisah of Ghana was second at 8.34, and Tommi Evila won Finland's first medal with a jump of 8.16.

"I figured it was going to be hard for someone to pass me," said Phillips, the Athens gold medalist. "After that first one, I never felt pressure." France's Ladji Doucoure, the 110-meter hurdles champion, won his second gold medal by starting France off to victory in the 400-meter relay in a world-leading 38.08 seconds. Trinidad and Tobago was second in 38.10 and Great Britain third in 38.27.

And in an unprecedented feat of endurance, 19-year-old Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba sprinted down the stretch to hold off compatriot Meseret Defar and repeat as 5,000-meter champion a week after she won the 10,000. Dibaba set a championships record of 14:38.59, with Defar second in 14:39.54 and Dibaba's older sister Ejegayehu third in 14:42.47.

Fellow Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu was fourth.

(LAT, AP, MT)