US wins gold in 1,500 meters, high jump at worlds

By RAF CASERT | September 1, 2011 | 9:05 AM EDT

USA's Jennifer Barringer Simpson celebrates after winning in the Women's 1500m final at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

DAEGU, South Korea (AP) — Jennifer Barringer Simpson won the first gold medal for the United States in the women's 1,500 meters since the inaugural world championships in 1983, and Jesse Williams added the first high jump world title in two decades.

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.

But no surprise was bigger than the victory of Barringer Simpson, who did not figure in the top 10 this season before outpacing everyone and winning the first title for the United States in the race since Mary Decker-Slaney 28 years ago.