EUGENE (21-Jul) — In the third heat of last night’s men’s 800m qualifying at the 18th World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field here, there was a multi-athlete collision about 200 meters into the race. While it was difficult to determine the exact cause, there was an abrupt slowdown in pace, athletes collided, there was some hard shoving, legs and feet got tangled, and Canada’s Brandon McBride fell hard to the track on his chest.
McBride, the 2014 NCAA indoor and outdoor 800m champion for Mississippi State, did his best to recover, but the field was hopelessly far ahead. He finished eighth –and last– in 1:57.43. His World Athletics Championships were over. Read more: Men’s 800m results: injured Donavan Brazier fails to advance – World Championships 2022
As he left the track McBride could be seen exchanging words with Jamaica’s Navasky Anderson, the 2022 NCAA Championships runner-up who also competed for Mississippi State.
Anderson, who was directly in front of McBride as the collision happened, was later running near the front at the bell, but faded to seventh place at the finish (like McBride, he did not advance). It is not known what McBride said to Anderson, but the Canadian was clearly unhappy.Embed from Getty Images
Minutes later as McBride stopped in the mixed zone under the stadium to speak to reporters, Anderson came up behind him and was clearly upset.
“My apologies,” Andersen said to McBride who was facing away. “You know I look up to you. You know you are one of the guys I look up to. I’m sorry, truly sorry.”
McBride, 28, who had been bent forward on the barrier which separates the athletes from the media, suddenly rose to face Anderson. In an incredible act of sportsmanship he gently hugged the 22-year-old Jamaican, patting him on the back. He forgave him on the spot.
“No problem, no problem,” McBride repeated before dropping his embrace and letting Anderson continue to the athlete recovery area.
The fall was a terrible blow for McBride, who was clearly in shape ahead of these championships (season’s best of 1:45.15) and had high hopes after being unable to advance from the preliminary round of the 800m at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
His teammate, Marco Arop, ran the fastest qualifying time yesterday (1:44.56), and a two-Canadian final was definitely possible.
“Honestly, it all happened so fast,” McBride told reporters. “There was a lot of pushing, a lot of shoving. I got pushed then tripped over someone’s leg, something of that nature. Unfortunately, you saw what happened, and I went down.”
American Bryce Hoppel was also involved in the same incident. He got shoved hard to the outside and lost all of his momentum. He struggled in the final 150 meters and only finished fifth. His time of 1:46.98 was too slow to advance.
“It was hard to tell what was going on, but I definitely got shoved from behind,” Hoppel told Race Results Weekly. He added: “So I had to stop pretty much all of my momentum and get going again to get into the spot I wanted to be in. That took a lot out of me; just didn’t let me run the race the way I wanted to.”
Despite his disappointment, McBride was also sympathetic to Hoppel’s situation.
“When things like that happen it’s very tough on the athletes,” McBride said. “Even the athletes who are not physically involved, it can easily throw the rhythm of the race off. Eight hundred is a race of rhythm, I could totally see how that would affect him.”
PHOTO: Canada’s Brandon McBride (in the back in the distance) finished last in his 800m qualifying heat after falling at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore. (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)