© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

It has been 62 years and 358 days since New Zealand enjoyed its “golden hour” during the Rome Olympic Games. On September 2, 1960, on the red cinder track inside Stadio Olimpico, unknown 21-year-old middle-distance runner Peter Snell surged into the final straight to clinch gold in the 800-metre event. He clocked a 1:46.30 performance. Within half an hour, the experienced, Murray Halberg, buoyed by Snell’s win, took the 5000m gold to complete an unforgettable track double. Within that hour Barry Magee took bronze in the marathon. All coached by Arthur Lydiard.

That golden hour continues to live on in infamy to this day.

On Saturday, day number eight of the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships was big for Canada — it was Canada’s version of the golden hour.

Riding high from two hammer throw gold medals earned during these Games, decathletes Pierce LePage and Damian Warner took gold and silver on Saturday. Meanwhile, Marco Arop took gold in the 800-metre event, while Sarah Mitton took silver in the shot put. Canada trebled its count in one hour and now sits in second place on the medal table.

Marco Arop’s 800m performance

The Edmonton native was the epitome of cool during the heats, even low-fiving a second-place finisher during the semi-final race, as Arop — shades of Usain Bolt swagger — cruised in for the win. During the final, the 24-year-old cooly moved to the back of the pack, stayed there until the bell, then smoothly made his way to the front, running on the outside on the back straight.

Arop continued to move without dropping a noticeable kick and simply ran away from the field to win Canada its first-ever middle-distance gold at a world championships. Arop clocked a 1:44.24 performance, six-one-hundredths faster than Snell’s lifetime personal best.

The tactic of sitting in the back for the first lap is the exact opposite of what he employed during the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships. In Eugene, he paid for his leading and earned a bronze, whilst he sat up front until it was time to sprint. He was outkicked by Kenyan Emmanuel Korir and Djamel Sedjati of Algeria.  

Men’s 800m final results

1Marco AROPCAN1:44.24
2Emmanuel WANYONYIKEN1:44.53
4Adrián BENESP1:44.91
5Slimane MOULAALG1:44.95
6Djamel SEDJATIALG1:45.08
7Tshepiso MASALELABOT1:45.57
8Bryce HOPPELUSA1:46.02

LePage and Warner go 1-2 in the decathlon

LePage came to the fore during the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships. While the senior Warner was favoured to win, the 32-year-old Tokyo Olympic gold medallist pulled a hamstring during the 400m race. It was the final event of the first day of competition. LePage would step up for Canada.

On the rise, LePage had finished fifth at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Although a medal threat for Eugene, there were no guarantees, it’s why they play the full 60 minutes in hockey, 90 minutes in soccer and all 10 events in the decathlon. The 26-year-old took silver. Saturday, he did one better.

LePage earned gold with 8909 points earned. Warner earned another silver. He took second place in 2015 at the Beijing World Athletics Championships. Warner battled hard for an 8804-point performance. Warner owns a best of 9,018 points, when he became the fourth decathlete in history to earn over 9,000 points, bettering the Olympic record co-held by Roman Šebrle and Ashton Eaton by 123 points.

Lindon Victor of Grenada took the bronze setting the national record with 8756 points. FULL DECATHLON RESULTS

Sarah Mitton’s silver medal put

In 1621 Sir William Alexander named the peninsula off the east coast to what would become the Dominion of Canada, Nova Scotia, which is Latin for New Scotland. The Scottish, are known for their Highland Games events, which include several tossing competitions, including the shot put. Perhaps, Brooklyn, Nova Scotia native Sarah Mitton was inspired by the relative Scottish connection of her home.

The 27-year-old earned the silver medal in the shot put behind American Chase Ealey. They put 20.43m to 20.08m, respectively, both season bests. The third-place finisher was China’s Lijiao Gong at 19.69m.

Mitton was so close in Eugene, the year before, taking the much-maligned fourth-place position with a best of 19.77m. However, she did win gold during the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games with a 19.03m put. She owns the national record at 20.33m, set last year in Greater Vancouver at McLeod Stadium.

It was the first-ever Canadian women’s shot put medal at the World Championships. Alexander and modern-day Scots would be proud to be sure — gaun yersel, as they say in old Scotland, or perhaps “go on yourself,” in Brooklyn.


1Chase EALEYUSA20.43 SB20.3519.71X20.0420.43X
2Sarah MITTONCAN20.08 SB19.1719.2719.9019.3020.08X
3Lijiao GONGCHN19.6918.8919.37X19.6919.6719.35
4Auriol DONGMOPOR19.6918.7919.63X19.6919.55X
5Danniel THOMAS-DODDJAM19.5919.3819.3319.59X18.6118.98
6Maggie EWENUSA19.5119.5119.2118.65X19.2719.49
7Maddison-Lee WESCHENZL19.51 PB18.81X19.4719.4119.51X
8Jessica SCHILDERNED19.2618.2519.1319.26XX18.14
9Jorinde VAN KLINKENNED19.0519.0518.45X   
10Yemisi OGUNLEYEGER18.97X18.97X   
11Jiayuan SONGCHN18.9018.5018.1818.90   
12Sara GAMBETTAGER18.7118.70X18.71