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?

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.

Usain Bolt wins the men's 200 // Getty Images

Usain Bolt wins the men's 200 // Getty Images

Track and field

Rivals, respect: Bolt comes up big, again, in 200

BEIJING — Usain Bolt defeated Justin Gatlin in the men’s 200 Thursday night at the 2015 world track and field championships, running the best time in the world this year, 19.55 seconds, to win hands-down.

If the result of this big-time showdown had been the other way around, if Gatlin had won, would earthquakes and tsunamis roil the planet? Would sinkholes swallow up large towns? Meteors flash across the sky?

Botswana's Isaac Makwala after the 400 semis // Getty Images

Botswana's Isaac Makwala after the 400 semis // Getty Images

Track and field

Red, white and maybe feeling blue?

BEIJING — Coming into these 2015 track and field world championships, it looked for — and to —  all the world like this could be the meet when the American team finally reached that elusive 30-total medal count.

With the meet now at its (just-past) halfway point, that looks exceedingly unlikely. The question now is more fundamental: is this 2015 performance a blip or a precursor for next year’s Rio 2016 Summer Games and, indeed, beyond?

Justin Gatlin after his 200 heat // Getty Images

Justin Gatlin after his 200 heat // Getty Images

Track and field

Cut Justin Gatlin some slack

BEIJING — Dear friends and colleagues in the media, especially many of you in the British press: back off. Cut Justin Gatlin some real slack.

Instead of insight and the pursuit of the truth, what far too many of you have delivered instead is a simplistic caricature of events amid the 2015 world track and field championships that, regrettably, has led to the capacity to incite.