Daegu, South Korea – Americans Lashinda Demus, Jennifer Barringer Simpson and Jesse Williams were all gold medal winners on Thursday at the 2011 world track and field championships.
Demus captured the women's 400-meter hurdles and Barringer Simpson won the women's 1,500 meters, while Williams took the men's high jump crown.
The U.S. men couldn't make it a clean sweep of the hurdles, as Britain's David Greene took the 400-meter title. Bershawn Jackson and Angelo Taylor were sixth and seventh, respectively, in the final event of the night.
Demus and Jamaica's Melanie Walker were just about even at the final hurdle, but the American crossed the line first in a time of 52.47 seconds. Walker, the defending champion, was next at 52.73 seconds.
Moments before Demus' triumph, Barringer Simpson finished the 1,500 meters in a time of four minutes, 5.40 seconds to give the U.S. its first gold medal in the event since Mary Decker-Slaney won the first world championship title back in 1983. Great Britain's Hannah England finished second at 4:05.68, while Spain's Natalia Rodriguez was third.
Williams won the first gold of the night. He cleared seven feet, 8 1/2 inches, as did Russia's Aleksey Dmitrik. However, Williams was awarded the gold medal for having fewer misses. He is the first American world champion in the high jump since Charles Austin in 1991.
The women's triple jump title went to Olha Saladuha of the Ukraine, while Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi beat countryman Brimin Kipruto for the men's 3,000 meter steeplechase.
Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter, helped South Africa qualify for the final of the 4x400-meter relay, which will be one of the featured events on Friday's schedule. The U.S. team, anchored by LaShawn Merritt, had the top qualifying time.