Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Track and field

U.S. No. 1 overall — in fast-changing world

BEIJING — With images of Jesse Owens and Luz Long on the big screens, Owens’ grand-daughter kicked off the final night of the 2015 track and field championships by presenting Usain Bolt his gold medal from the men’s 4×100 relay the night before.

This was, in a nutshell, the past and present of the sport. The future?

Ashton Eaton after crossing the finish line in the decathlon 1500 // Getty Images

Ashton Eaton after crossing the finish line in the decathlon 1500 // Getty Images

Track and field

A decathlon record but more U.S. relay woe

BEIJING — For this world championships year, 2015, the U.S. 4×100 men’s and women’s relay teams had one objective, and one objective only: get the stick around. Really. The trick was not to fall prey to the dropsies, oopsies and bumps in the night that have for far too long at major meets have plagued American entries.

With several young runners on the track and and the idea of using the 2015 worlds as an end unto itself but also a means of preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the verdict Saturday: oops, again!

Aries Merritt after taking third place in the 110 hurdles // Getty Images

Aries Merritt after taking third place in the 110 hurdles // Getty Images

Track and field

Racing to a kidney transplant

BEIJING — These 2015 world track and field championships at the Bird’s Nest drew more than 1,900 athletes from more than 200 nations.

Every single one of them has a story. But no one has a story quite like Aries Merritt, your 2015 110-meter hurdles bronze medalist. In just a few days, he’s going to have a kidney transplant.

Hayward Field, site of the 2014 world juniors

Hayward Field, site of the 2014 world juniors

Track and field

Eugene, beyond the 2014 world juniors?

EUGENE, Oregon — First and foremost, Eugene is not TrackTown USA. That is an excellent bit of marketing. But everything is relative. This is a college town, and as track’s worldwide governing body, the IAAF, comes to the United States for the first time in more than 20 years for a championship of any sort, it must be said, like it or not, this is most appropriately CollegeFootballTown USA.

Anybody who tells you anything else simply picked a bad week to stop sniffing whatever might be in the air by the 7-Eleven at the corner of Franklin and Patterson.

Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen Eaton after practice at Westmont College

Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen Eaton after practice at Westmont College

Track and field

Living in the moment: track’s It Couple

The world’s greatest athlete is taking his first outdoor runs of the season in the pole vault.

His coach, Harry Marra, is here, of course, at the Westmont College track, in the hills above Santa Barbara, California. His wife, Brianne, herself the reigning indoor and outdoor silver medalist in the women’s versions of the all-around event, is here, too, practicing her javelin throws and running some hard sprints.