A Photographer's Journal of the World Championships
Editor’s note: Now that the dust has settled on one of the most memorable World Athletics Championships in recent years, and now that our photographer Michael Dawson has made it home to New Zealand mostly intact – not counting the ankle he fractured in the line of duty – we thought we’d give him a chance to reflect on some of the highlights.
Photographing World Champs is an endurance event in its own right. Nine straight days of sweltering in the track-side heat, late nights hunched over laptops, and early mornings spent dragging yourself back out to do it all again.
The reason we do it, of course, is for the privilege of capturing the world’s best athletes on the biggest stage, each chasing the same goal. This year, that stage was the freshly completed National Athletics Centre in Budapest, Hungary. The goal was global medals.
Europe does big track meets like nowhere else in the world, and the crowds delivered on that expectation in Budapest. Every day, every session was flooded with fans. The reception for the local Hungarian athletes was just as loud as for the big names like Bol, Ingebrigtsen and Lyles. Budapest saw plenty of newly minted world champions, such as the dramatic Josh vs. Jakob 1500m final. It also had established stars building their case for greatness, as did Yulimar Rojas in the triple jump.
There were countless great moments on the track during Budapest's nine long and hot days, so sit back and enjoy this gallery from our sport’s global showdown, the World Championships.
The dramatic Sifan Hassan vs. the entire field over 10,000m was the pinnacle of Day 1. Hassan took a tumble in the home straight, leading to an Ethiopian podium sweep, with Gudaf Tsegay leading the way for gold.
Joshua Cheptegei, Noah Lyles and Katarina Johnson-Thomson were the global stars taking gold medal honours on Day 2.
Sha’Carri Richardson inscribed her name in the history books over the 100m on Day 3. Grant Holloway stamped his dominant mark on the 110m hurdles.
Faith Kipyegon shocked only herself by winning the women's 1500m. Gianmarco Tamberi was on top of the world; the half-bearded Italian legend was a games favourite with his high jump gold. (Photographer’s note: Day 4 was also the day I fractured my ankle in two places after I tripped over a cable in the trackside media trench; I wouldn’t find out about this for two more weeks.)
Day 5 was King Kerr’s day. A dramatic upset victory over time trial specialist Jakob Ingerbrigtsen in the men's 1500m.
Femke Bol was all business to win her global gold in the 400m hurdles.
A dramatic, final-round jump for gold for Yulimar Rojas was the talk of the town on Day 7. That is until Noah Lyles secured the double with his win over 200m.
Mondo Duplantis was an absolute crowd favourite, with the competition taking place only metres away from the fans. Kipyegon returned to deliver in the 5000m, and there was some sensational relay action. Let’s not forget about the women’s marathon setting off around the stunning city of Budapest that morning, too.