Stephen Kiprotich claims marathon

Updated: August 17, 2013, 4:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MOSCOW -- Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich on Saturday became the first non-Kenyan since 2005 to win the men's marathon at the world championships.

The Ugandan broke away from Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia in the shaded park around Luhzniki Stadium for a title he capped with a little dance past the finishing line.

Another Ethiopian, Tadese Tola, took bronze on a warm afternoon in the Russian capital.

Kiprotich beat two Kenyans at the London Olympics, but none was in the top three for the first time at a world championship since 2005.

It was Uganda's first men's world title in the 30-year history of the championships.

"I am so happy I won another gold medal for my country," Kiprotich said. "Now I am the Olympic and world champion."

No Allyson Felix meant no gold for the Americans in the women's 4x400 relay.

Felix has helped the U.S. to three straight world titles in the relay, but couldn't run after tearing her right hamstring in the 200 final the night before.

The squad sure could've used her, too, as the Russians beat the Americans after a curious exchange between the third and fourth runners. Shoulder to shoulder with Kseniya Ryzhova, Ashley Spencer was on the inside and anchor Francena McCorory was a lane over. Unable to get to her, Spencer slowed down and dropped behind the Russian to pass the baton.

It cost the Americans a few tenths of a second. The team lost by 0.22.

"I had to stop and go and it was just a mess," Spencer explained.

Indeed, Felix was missed. So, too, was Sanya Richards-Ross, the 400 Olympic champion who didn't qualify for the worlds at the nationals because of a surgically repaired big toe.

"We're not always going to have Allyson or Sanya," Jessica Beard said. "We have to step up to a higher level, to a higher standard."

Brianna Rollins is the new standard in the 100-meter hurdles, beating Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia for the gold medal. That despite an extremely slow start.

"It's been such a great year," said Rollins, who turns 22 on Sunday. "I'm thankful."

Other winners on Saturday included:

• Ethiopian veteran Meseret Defar adding the 5,000 world title to her Olympic gold medal.

• Vitezslav Vesely of the Czech Republic taking the javelin crown.

• Svetlana Shkolina of Russia edging American Brigetta Barrett in the high jump.

"Two silvers in the last 12 months is quite a feat," said Barrett, who also took second at the London Olympics.

Heading into Sunday, the Americans lead the standings with 20 medals overall. But the Russians hold a 7-6 edge in gold and have 15 overall. The Jamaicans are third with 10, which includes two each by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Bolt.

Emma Green Tregaro of Sweden remained a big part of the championships, not so much for her finish in the high jump but the finish on her fingernails.

Green Tregaro wore rainbow-colored nail polish during qualifying to show support for Russian gays and lesbians in the face of an anti-gay law. She went with red Saturday as track officials said the earlier gesture may violate the meet's code of conduct.

"It was harder to not paint them in the rainbow than it was to choose to paint them," said Green Tregaro, who ended up fifth. "I'm surprised by the big reactions, but I'm happy about the big reaction because it's mostly been very positive."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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