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LaShawn Merritt: ‘Losing only makes you stronger’

DAEGU, South Korea — At the top of the stretch, it seemed that LaShawn Merritt, America’s best 400-meter sprinter, had scripted the perfect coda to the bizarre saga of his lengthy suspension for taking a — no easy way around this — male-enhancement product two years ago.

After roaring through the prelims and the semifinals, he had rounded the final curve and was in the lead; 100 more meters and victory would be his.

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Jillian Camarena-Williams makes shot-put, and love, history

DAEGU, South Korea — Sure, technique helps. Right, being healthy is huge. But when you’re in love, really truly madly in love, the kind of love they write about in books and they make movies about, when your husband is your soulmate, and you’re out there in front of the cheering thousands, and you’ve got to will yourself to go places you’ve never gone before, he’s there with you.

It’s true love. It is.

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No fear, one DQ, two golds

DAEGU, South Korea — John Smith, the Southern California track coach for whom there are two ways — his way and the highway — has a mantra he particularly likes.

Fear, he says, is nothing but “false evidence appearing real.” There’s no fear in anything, he says. Get out there and 100 percent do your best. Just execute.

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Usain Bolt’s epic disqualification

DAEGU, South Korea — Usain Bolt false-started, and Yohan Blake, his Jamaican training partner, won the men’s 100-meter world championship title in a race that immediately created a sensational controversy sure to linger to and through the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Whether that controversy is good for track and field, a sport that desperately needs stars and on Sunday by rule excused its biggest star from its biggest event — all that remains to be seen.

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Oscar Pistorius and the power of will

DAEGU, South Korea — It took 45 seconds, more or less, for Oscar Pistorius to show the world, again and emphatically, that sport holds no barriers to the power of will.

Running on prosthetic devices that he puts on the way able-bodied athletes slip on shoes, Pistorius, the South African whose lower legs were amputated when he was a baby, turned 400 meters at the track and field world championships in 45.39 seconds, third-fastest in his heat, plenty fast to move him into Monday’s semifinal.