Brianne Theisen-Eaton won a come-from-behind gold medal in the pentathlon Friday night, closing a 150-point deficit in the final event, the 800-metre race, in Portland, Ore.
Heading into the last event of the five-discipline competition, the Humboldt, Sask., native, who is married to decathlon world record-holder Ashton Eaton, needed to run 11 seconds faster than then leader Anastasiya Mokhnyuk, a seemingly insurmountable difference.
Theisen-Eaton, 27, did just that, running 2:09.99 to Mokhnyuk's 2:23.19, a 13.2-second difference, moving her into gold.
"I was nervous coming into the 800m," Theisen-Eaton said. "My goal coming in was to do the best I could in each event, not measure myself to the other competitors. With 150 metres to go I could hear Ashton screaming 'You can win! You can win!' so I had to find another gear."
Theisen-Eaton finished with a world-leading score of 4,881, good for a personal best. Mokhnyuk scored 4,847 for silver and her compatriot Alina Fodorova finished bronze with 4,770.
Even though she represents Canada, Theisen-Eaton was the crowd favourite from her days at the University of Oregon. It was in Eugene that she met her husband, who is a Portland native.
Eaton is also at the world championships, competing in the indoor heptathlon. The world-record holder in the event, he holds the lead after the first day.
After the results were announced in Portland, Eaton rushed over to embrace his wife.
"I told her, 'I'm proud of you,'" Eaton said.
Eaton, who was on the inside of the oval, ran to the finish to cheer her on — but his shouts were drowned out by the roar of the crowd as she pushed down the final stretch.
"The gold medal is great, but I'm most proud of myself for executing this competition, mentally, the way that we'd planned," she said afterward, draped by the Canadian flag.
Next up is a bid for her second Olympic team. She finished 11th at the London Games.
Canadians perform well
Edmonton's Angel Whyte finished fifth in the women's 60m hurdles, sprinting to a 7.99-second finish. Nia Ali of the United States narrowly won gold over teammate Brianna Rollins. The two finished in 7.81 and 7.82 seconds, respectively.
Tim Nedow finished seventh in the men's shot put with a throw of 20.23m. New Zealand's Tomas Walsh threw a world-leading area record of 21.78 to win gold.
Mohammed Ahmed qualified for the men's 3,000 final, an event he set the Canadian record in earlier this winter. Cam Levins did not advance from the heats. The two Canadians both live and train in Portland. The final is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Also competing in the pentathlon, Georgia Ellenwood of Langley, B.C., placed 10th with a total score of 4324 points.
"I was a little flat with NCAA's last weekend, I didn't have huge expectations coming in, just wanted to come in and see what I can do. I wanted to soak in the atmosphere and just learn from the experience. I think it was pretty good considering everything," Ellenwood said.
Powell misses gold again
After running 6.44 seconds for 60 metres in both the heats and semifinals, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell fell to American Trayvon Bromell in the final, the latter's first senior world championship title.
Bromell, who tied Canadian Andre De Grasse for bronze over 100 metres at the 2015 world championships, ran a personal-best 6.47 in the finals to beat Powell, who fell to 6.50 for silver. Ramon Gittens of Barbados finished bronze.
Powell, 33, held the world record over 100m prior to Usain Bolt's explosion onto the world sprint scene in 2008, though he has never won an individual world championship medal.
Twenty-year-old Canadian Ajomale Bolade missed the 60m final by two spots, finishing 10th in the semifinals with 6.60. The competition was his first international senior championship.
The world indoor track and field championships continue through Sunday and will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca