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The previous American mark for 800 meters has stood for nearly 20 years, set in 1999 by Jearl Miles Clark, clocking 1:56.4.
Now Ajee Wilson, who won the USA Outdoor Championships earlier this summer, has broken that mark by a hefty margin for the short two-lap distance. She crossed the line in 1:55.61 during the Diamond League meet in Monaco. Her time, albeit impressive, wasn’t even good enough to win the event; she finished third behind Olympic gold and silver medalists Caster Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba. The winner now has a world-leading mark following that event—aka it’s now the fastest-time ever in the 800 meters.
Fellow 800-meter star and former cover runner Brenda Martinez finished seventh with a season best of 1:58.43.
The Diamond League is a points-based meet that includes 32 disciplines. There are 12 qualifying meets where athletes can earn points toward the final race of their event. Monaco is one of those 12 qualifying meets, with earned points going toward the women’s 800-meter final in Zurich, Switzerland, in August.
Wilson will represent Team USA at the World Championships in London next month.
(Some might recall Ajee Wilson as being one of a handful of athletes to make headlines this year due to potential doping. The USADA determined she will not serve a suspension, citing that the substance she tested positive for came from hormone-treated beef.)