Ajee’ Wilson runs two laps around the track faster than any woman in America ever has.
She can finish 800 meters in 1:55.61, which is the standing national record. So when she placed third at the 2019 world championships in Doha, Qatar, initially, the result didn’t match her expectations.
Ranked No. 1 in the world, she was heavily favored to win. She had won six of the eight outdoor competitions leading up to that race, including her 10th U.S. title and four prestigious Diamond League races. After leading most of the first 600 meters, Ugandan Halimah Nakaayi surged past Wilson in the final straightaway, along with Wilson’s then-training partner Raevyn Rogers.
Wilson took bronze, Rogers silver, and Nakaayi, who had never raced a world championships final before, won the gold.
“It was super disappointing,” Wilson says. “But yeah, it happened. I had to quickly pivot to asking myself, ‘What are you going to do to figure it out and get back to where you need to be?’”