U.S. Takes Fewest World Championship Medals in 12 Years

Finished below Kenya and Jamaica in golds

Founded in 1983, the World Championships are held on the odd years between Olympics. In the 15 championships (not contested in ’85 and ’89), the U.S. averaged 21 medals, including 10 golds, per year. (Grzegorz Jereczek / Flickr)

On Sunday, the last day of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing, China, the U.S. finished with its lowest medal count since 2003, according to the IAAF.  

Founded in 1983, the World Championships are held on the odd years between Olympics. In the 15 championships (World Championships were not held in ’85 and ’89), the U.S. averaged 21 medals, including 10 golds, per year. 

This year, the U.S. national team concluded with 18 medals, leading the total number over Kenya (16) and Jamaica (12). But both of the latter countries finished with seven golds to the U.S.’s six. The U.S. had previously never been lower than second in overall golds, but came in third this year.

Individual highlights included Ashton Eaton’s world record in the decathlon and a 4x400-meter relay men’s win. But Team USA men were again disqualified in the 4x100-meter relay—the final exchange was out-of-zone—and only one medal was achieved in mid-distance and distance events when Emily Infeld took bronze in the women’s 10,000 meters.

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