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2023 is arguably the year for women’s sports. The data doesn’t lie, with viewership soaring for events such as the Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift and the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer.
Adding to the summer of sport, the World Athletics Championships begin Friday, August 19, when the city of Budapest, Hungary will welcome the world’s best track and field athletes over 10 days of competition. This year sees the United States sending over 70 female athletes, and the competition is sure to be a celebration of athletic excellence.
Come meet the athletes representing Team USA in the track events at the events.
Brittany Brown, 28, Fort Worth, Texas
A former University of Iowa star, Brown finished second in the 100-meter dash in a personal best 10.90 seconds at the USATF Championships in July. She won the silver medal in the 200 meters at the 2019 world championships in Doha. Brown is ranked No. 10 in the world heading into the world championships in Budapest and should make the finals if she runs to her potential.
Tamari Davis, 20, Gainesville, Florida
A high school phenom who turned pro at age 16, Davis finished third in the 100 at the USATF Championships in July. She narrowly missed qualifying for the 2022 world championships when she finished fourth at last year’s USATF meet in a personal best 10.78 seconds. Her 10.89 season’s best time is No. 8 on the world list this year and has an outside chance to earn a medal if she can make it to the finals.
Sha’Carri Richardson, 23, Clermont, Florida
Flamboyant and fast, Richardson has been one of the world’s best sprinters since 2019 when she won the 100 meters for LSU at the NCAA Championships in a speedy 10.75 seconds. Two years ago, the sprinter from Dallas blew away the field in the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials with a 10.86 effort, but then she was famously suspended after testing positive for cannabis (which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances) and missed the Tokyo Olympics as a result. (She admitted using the drug to cope with the pressure of qualifying for the Olympics while also mourning the recent death of her biological mother.) After a challenging season in 2022, she’s back at the top of her game. At this year’s USATF Championships, she won the 100 (10.82)—her first U.S. title—moments after shedding the bright orange wig she had worn in the preliminary heats. Her 10.71 personal best (from the USATF prelims) ranks No. 2 in the world behind Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson’s 10.65 and No. 7 on the all-time list. She could win gold, but she’ll have to outrun Jackson to get it.
Sha’Carri Richardson, 23, Clermont, Florida
Richardson had hoped to collect the 200-meter U.S. title after winning the 100 at the USATF Championships in July, but wound up second behind Gabby Thomas. Richardson is ranked No. 4 in the world in the 200 and should contend for a medal, but her focus is clearly on winning the 100 first.
Gabby Thomas, 26, Austin, Texas
After a rough season in 2022, she rebounded by lowering her personal best to 21.60 while winning the 200 at this summer’s USATF Championships—a time that ranks her No. 1 in the world heading into Budapest and No. 4 on the all-time list. Thomas had a breakthrough season in 2021, winning the 200 at the U.S. Olympic Trials (21.61) and then earning the bronze medal (22.11) at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. As an undergrad at Harvard, Thomas studied neurobiology and global health, then earned a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
Kayla White, 26, Knoxville, Tennessee
After finishing seventh in the 100 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021 and seventh in the 200 at the USATF Championships in 2022 in 2022, White has had her best season as a pro in 2023, finishing third in the 200 at the USATF Championships in a personal best 22.01. She was the NCAA indoor champion in the 60-meter dash in 2019 and runner-up in the 100 at the NCAA outdoor championships later that year. White is ranked No. 5 in the world and should contend for a medal if she can get through the preliminary heats and make the finals.
Talitha Diggs, 20, Gainesville, Florida
A former University of Florida star who just turned pro, Diggs won the NCAA indoor and outdoor 400m titles in 2022 and then won her first U.S. title. She didn’t make the finals at last year’s world championships, but she did earn a gold medal as a member of the U.S. 4×400-meter relay team. After finishing second (indoors) and fifth (outdoors) at this year’s NCAA championships, she rebounded with a strong showing at the USATF Championships, placing third in a personal best 49.93. Diggs comes from a family steeped in athletic prestige. Her mom, Joetta Clark Diggs, was a five-time U.S. champion and four-time U.S. Olympian in the 800, plus she’s a cousin of NFL players Stefon Diggs and Trevon Diggs. She’s ranked No. 11 in the world, but she could make it to the finals in Budapest if she runs her best.
Britton Wilson, 22, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Wilson is a dual-discipline talent as a sprinter and hurdler, and last year had an amazing year running the 400-meter hurdles. She won the event at the 2022 NCAA Championships for the University of Arkansas, took second at the USATF Championships and fifth in the world championships. This year she’s focused more on the 400 meters, having won the NCAA indoor title placing second in the NCAA outdoor championships. She also became the first American woman to break 50 seconds in the indoor 400 (49.48) and set an NCAA outdoor record (49.13). That early season success set her up for a strong showing at the USATF Championships in July, where she placed second in 49.79.
Lynna Irby-Jackson, 24, Round Rock, Texas
After Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone was sidelined with an injury, Irby-Jackson was named as her replacement on the U.S. team. Although she struggled after leaving the University of Georgia in 2019 to turn pro, Irby-Jackson has been on an upward trajectory since 2021. She earned a gold medal as a member of the U.S. 4×400-meter relay at the Tokyo Olympics, finished third at the USATF Championships last year and fourth this year in a season’s best 50.11. She’s only ranked No. 13 in the world, but she has loads of experience and has been approaching her personal best form of 2018 when she won the NCAA Championships in 49.80.
Nia Akins, 25, Seattle, Washington
Akins has raced extremely well this year, and so far hasn’t lost an 800-meter race, indoors or outdoors. She earned U.S. national championships indoors (2:00.16) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, back in February and outdoors in July in Eugene, Oregon, in 1:59.50. She was the runner-up at the NCAA Championships in 2019, but then lost her senior season when Covid-19 shut down the season. She turned pro and has been making gradual improvements training with the Brooks Beasts Track Club. She made the final at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, but fell during the race. Then she broke the elusive two-minute barrier for the first time in 2022 (1:58.78), but didn’t make the final at the U.S. championships.
Kaela Edwards, 29, Boulder, Colorado
It’s been a long road for Kaela Edwards, but she’s definitely arrived in 2023. She made her first U.S. team after she earned a third-place finish (2:00.52) at the USATF Championships with smart, well-executed racing. It’s the best she’s run since 2018, when she placed fourth in the U.S. in a personal best of 1:59.68. She was the NCAA indoor mile champion for Oklahoma State back in 2016 but has been hampered by injuries and near-misses as a pro. She’s coached by her partner Chad Noelle, who was the 2015 NCAA 1,500-meter champion at Oklahoma State.
Athing Mu, 21, Los Angeles
A year ago, Athing Mu was unbeatable and seemed to be on a trajectory that few middle-distance runners have ever been on. After winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 (1:55.21), setting a new American record (1:55.04) while winning the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet in Eugene later that year and then taking gold at the the world championships in Eugene last year (1:56.30), she’s been shrouded in mystery. She’s only run three races since then, an 800 at the USATF NYC Grand Prix in New York City (1:58.73) and two 1,500-meter races at the USATF Championships. She has an automatic entry to the world championships, but most recently her coach Bobby Kersee said she might train through the summer and focus on the 2024 Paris Olympics. If she’s healthy and shows up and runs in Budapest, she’ll be the favorite to win gold.
Raevyn Rogers, 26, Houston
Although she’s only 26, Rogers is a seasoned pro when it comes to championship race. After winning two youth world championships in 2013 and 2014 and a Pan Am Games junior gold medal in 2016, she won five NCAA titles at the University of Oregon and then turned pro and won a world indoor title in 2018. She earned a silver medal at the 2019 world championships in Doha and took home the bronze from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. She finished a close second (1:59.83) at the USATF Championships in early July, then ran a season’s best time of 1:58.98 at the Diamond League meet on July 23 in London.
Nikki Hiltz, 28, Flagstaff, Arizona
Nikki Hiltz, who uses they/them pronouns, is one of the first athletes representing as transgender nonbinary to earn a berth on Team USA. They earned have been on fire all season, earning big wins in the mile (4:17.10) at the U.S. indoor championships in February, the 1,500 (4:09.02) at the Drake Relays in April, a mile race (4:22.07) at the Montesson Meet in France, a 1,500m (4:07.18) at the Trond Mohn Games in Bergen, Norway in June, and the 1,500m finals (4:03.10) at the USATF Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July. On top of that they ran the second-fastest women’s mile in U.S. history (4:16.35) when she placed sixth at the Diamond League meet in Monaco. After a few years of trying to make it, Hiltz, who is ranked No. 6 in the world in the mile and No. 18 in the 1,500m, has upped their game this season and will be a medal contender in Budapest.
Sinclaire Johnson, 25, Portland, Oregon
Johnson finished a heartbreaking fourth-place (4:03.49) at the USATF Championships in July, but she earned a spot on Team USA when second-place finisher Athing Mu relinquished her spot on the team. Johnson has worked hard to improve in her first several years as a pro, rebounding from a 12th-place finish (4:08.81) at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021 to winning the USATF Championships last summer (4:03.29) and then placing sixth at the world championships. After running a fast 800 (2:00.32) at a meet in Finland in early August, she should be ready to contend for another world championships finals berth in Budapest.
Cory McGee, 31, Boulder, Colorado
McGee doesn’t have a lot of flashy bling, but she’s consistent and has a lot of experience. She’s been a consistent top-five performer at the U.S. championships since 2013 and she’s done most of her best racing in the past three years, including making the finals at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and the world championships in Eugene last year. She ran a smart race at the USATF Championships in July, en route to finishing third in 4:03.48. Although she hasn’t broken 4:00 in the 1,500m yet and is ranked No. 21 in the world, she ran one of the fastest mile races (4:18.11) in U.S. history at Norway in mid-June and seems ready to contend for a spot in the world championships finals.
Emma Coburn, 32, Boulder, Colorado
Coburn, who has 10 U.S. titles in the event, lost for the first time at the USATF Championships since her first victory in 2011, but she still finished second and ran a season-best time of 9:13.60 to earn another Team USA berth. She had a tough past two seasons as her mother was ailing from cancer (and passed away last winter), but she seems ready to add to her collection of global medals. She’s ranked No. 15 in the world heading into the world championships, but her experience is much more important than her ranking. (Coburn was the bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics and followed that up with a gold medal at the 2017 world championships and a silver medal at the 2019 world championships.)
Krissy Gear, 24, Flagstaff, Arizona
Krissy Gear is having a dream season in 2023, especially after venturing back to the 3,000-meter steeplechase. After winning the Boston Athletic Association Invitational Mile on the streets of Boston in April, Gear returned to the steeple, an event in which she had success in college and as a junior runner, and lowered her personal best to 9:23.55 in a tune-up race and then won the USATF Championships in 9:12.81. That she outkicked three-time NCAA champion Courtney Wayment and 11-time U.S. national champion Emma Coburn in the process was icing on the cake. It might be a tall order to make the world championship finals in Budapest, but she’s ranked No. 14 in the world and all indications are that the best is yet to come for Gear.
Courtney Wayment, 25, Springville, Utah
After narrowly missing a berth on the U.S. Olympic team in 2021 while still a collegiate runner for Brigham Young University, Wayment has run strong at the past USATF Championships in 2022 (second, 9:12.10) and 2023 (third, 9:14.63). She gained valuable experience by making it to the world championships final last year (12th, 9:22.37) and then lowered her personal best to 9:09.91 in a Diamond League meet in Monaco. She’s ranked No. 10 in the world and has run well in two European races this year, including a fourth-place showing (9:17.21) at the Diamond League meet in London in late July.
5,000 meters / 10,000 meters
Elise Cranny, 27, Eugene, Oregon
Cranny has emerged as the top runner in the Nike Bowerman Track Club since it moved from Portland to Eugene, Oregon, winning both the 5,000m and 10,000m at his year’s USATF Championships. She placed 13th in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and just missed making the U.S. team in the 10,000. Last year she won her second straight U.S. title in the 5,000m and wound up ninth in the world championships. Her personal bests of 14:48.02 and 30:14.66 suggest she can be competitive in either race in Budapest, but the biggest indication of her fitness is that she ran one of the fastest miles in U.S. history (4:16.47) at a Diamond League meet in Monaco in late July.
Alicia Monson, 25, Boulder, Colorado
Monson has improved leaps and bounds in three years since she joined the On Athletics Club under the guidance of Dathan Ritzenhein. After placing 13th in the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she followed that up by placing 13th at last year’s world championships. This year, she’s already set new American records in both the 3,000m indoors (8:25.05), the 10,000m (30:03.82) and the 5,000m (14:19.45, just three weeks ago in London) so the sky’s the limit for her in Budapest. She contemplated only running the 10,000m, but she recently said she’d be running both events. She probably has a better chance at earning a medal in the 10,000m, but she’s ranked No. 8 in the world in both events so who knows?
Natosha Rogers, 32, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Rogers has been running at a high level since she was an All-American at Texas A&M—famously finishing second in the 10,000m at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials but missed a chance to run in the London Olympics because she didn’t have the qualifying standard. But she’s taken her career to new heights in the past two years and especially since she started training with the Puma Elite Team under Amy and Alistar Cragg this year. Last year, she finished third in the 10,000m at the USATF Championships and parlayed that to a 15th-place showing at the world championships. She took third in both the 5,000m and 10,000m at this year’s USATF Championships and has lowered her personal bests in each event to 14:55.39 and 30:48.69. She’ll be racing against a lot of very fast women at the world championships, but her bulldog racing demeanor should help her be in the competitive mix.
Keira D’Amato, 38, Richmond, Virginia
D’Amato continues to break the mold of what’s possible after choosing to start a family and a career in her early 20s instead of pursuing competitive running. After a 10-year hiatus from racing, D’Amato has become the Nike-sponsored world-class marathon runner she was always dreamed she would be. After setting an American record in 2022 (2:19.12, later broken by Emily Sisson), she went on to place eighth at the world championships (2:23.34), sixth at the Berlin Marathon (2:21.48) and 15th in the New York City Marathon (2:31.31). She’s in the shape of her life heading to Budapest, having set a new American record at the Gold Coast Half Marathon (1:06:39) in Australia on July 1 and placing third at the TD Beach to Beacon 10K (31:58) on August 5 in Maine. Expect D’Amato to be in the thick of it and have the chance to fight for a medal.
Lindsay Flanagan, 32, Superior, Colorado
Flanagan has continued to improve as a marathoner since her debut at the distance in 2015. She had a breakthrough year in 2022 with three solid marathons, including a personal-best 2:24:43 win at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia and an 11th-place effort on a hot day at the New York City Marathon. So far this year, the ASICS-sponsored runner has run a strong eighth-place showing at the Tokyo Marathon (2:26:08) and two good half marathons. In her only other championship race, she placed 37th (2:39.47) at the 2017 world championships in London, but she’s continued to run well overseas so finishing among the top 10 could be well within her reach.
Susanna Sullivan, 33, Reston Virginia
Sullivan has been running fast marathons for the past few years while also working full-time sixth-grade math teacher near Washington D.C. She burst on the scene with a 15th-place effort at the 2021 Boston Marathon (2:33:22) and has continued to lower her personal best at the 2022 Grandma’s Marathon (third, 2:26:56), 2022 Chicago Marathon (sixth, 2:25:14) and the 2023 London Marathon (10th, 2:24:27). Although she recently signed a sponsorship deal with Brooks, she’ll be heading back to the classroom after returning from Budapest in late August.
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