In a wide open race, a man previously best known for his start-line antics in London was able to steal the global 800m title in a wild final sprint.

France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse patiently made his move with 200m to go, following a group of runners overtaking Canada’s Brandon McBride, who led much of the race. McBride seemed poised to take a World Championship medal in the men’s 800m, following in the footsteps of Canadian record holder Gary Reed, who won silver in Osaka in 2007. Reed remains the Canadian record holder (1:43.68), but McBride is threatening to overtake that mark.

At just 23, McBride said after the semifinal that he liked to front-run, and was exactly where he wanted to be in the bell lap. But when Kenya’s Kipyegon Bett made a strong surge on the back straightaway, McBride could not up his pace, and quickly started to unravel. 

Ultimately, Bosse took full advantage. He cleared the pack in the final 100m, en route to a victory that even seemed to surprise the Frenchman. As he crossed the finish line he was unemotional, as if unaware that he was in first, and then was overcome by a wave of visible disbelief. At 25, Bosse has been a consistent competitor at the distance and entered the event with one of the better personal best times (1:42.53). He’d just missed the podium in Rio, finishing fourth. But with David Rudisha and the two other 2016 Olympic medallists out due to injury, the final in London was upredictable, and delivered a wild sprint finish.

Poland’s Adam Kszczot charged late, and overtook much of the field to come in second. Bett held on, barely, for bronze, with Britain’s Kyle Langford nearly sneaking onto the podium. 

Official results:

POS BIB ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK
1 919 Pierre-Ambroise BOSSE FRAFRA 1:44.67 SB
2 1244 Adam KSZCZOT POLPOL 1:44.95 SB
3 1126 Kipyegon BETT KENKEN 1:45.21
4 966 Kyle LANGFORD GBRGBR 1:45.25 PB
5 707 Nijel AMOS BOTBOT 1:45.83
6 892 Mohammed AMAN ETHETH 1:46.06
7 713 Thiago ANDRÈ BRABRA 1:46.30
8 760 Brandon MCBRIDE CANCAN 1:47.09

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