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Americans Barringer Simpson, Williams, Demus win 3 gold in half hour at worlds in SKorea
DAEGU, South Korea (AP) ' In a golden half hour for the United States, three Americans won world championship titles on Thursday, none more surprising than Jennifer Barringer Simpson getting the first 1,500-meter victory since Mary Decker-Slaney in 1983.
Jesse Williams added the first high jump world title in two decades and Lashinda Demus ran the third fastest time in history to take the women's 400 hurdles.
At the end of the night, the United States led the medal standings with seven gold medals and 12 overall. Russia was closest with four gold and 12 in total.
On a day of surprises, double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius reached his first major final Thursday, leading off South Africa's 4x400-meter relay team and helping it qualify with a national record. The South African team is to decide early Friday whether the Paralympic star would still be in the starting lineup for Friday's final since it could also use Thursday's 400 hurdles bronze medalist L.J. van Zyl.
The astonished face of Simpson said it all after the race. She did not figure in the top 10 of this season's performers before outpacing all the favorites and winning the first title for the United States in the race in 28 years.
"I am supposed to say that I am not surprised," said Simpson, who had the 25th best time of the season heading into the worlds. "All I can say is that a dream has come true."
Simpson sped past rivals on the finishing straight and then, with big eyes, looked at the giant screen facing her in Daegu Stadium to see if it really happened.
She closed her eyes and raised her fists in disbelief.
Williams was composed in the high jump. He was perfect through the winning height of 7-feet, 8 inches, needing one jump less than Aleksey Dmitrik of Russia.
Both failed three times at 7-9 to give the United States a first men's high jump title since Charles Austin at the 1991 worlds in Tokyo.