The moment of victory, Ajee’ Wilson wins WIC 800m, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics
Jeff Benjamin with Ajee’ Wilson, photo courtesy of Ajee’ Wilson
This is Jeff Benjamin’s feature on Ajee’ Wilson, the 2022 gold medalist at the World Indoor Athletic Championships. This was the first gold medal from Ajee’ Wilson at a global championships.
Ajee’ Wilson’s World Champs Gold – The Bridesmaid Finally Becomes The Bride!
By Jeff Benjamin
Talking to her Coach Derrick Thompson before the finals of last week’s Championship 800 meters, Ajee’ Wilson heard advice she had never heard before.
“I called my Coach to strategize,” said Wilson. “He said you have to trust yourself and do what you need to do.”
“If I’m in the lead – good…and if I’m not in the lead be patient.”
That patience sure paid off as the American legend stayed relaxed in the pack and then exploded into the lead in Belgrade, competing against herself in the last lap and winning her first Gold Medal at the World Championship level.
Ajee’ Wilson, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics
“I definitely think it’s a milestone,” said Wilson as she looked back on her stellar performance. “This season has been a reflective one on my journeys.”
Those journeys have cemented Wilson as a tough competitor who had medaled with Silver and Bronze in BOTH World Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the past.
This time the 2-Time Olympian reached the pinnacle and there were 2 things that influenced Wilson that she recollected on her journey to the Gold.
“I made the US team in 2017 for the World Indoors but didn’t qualify for the final,” recalled Wilson. “My training partner Chanel Price did and I saw her reaction to that and I wanted to have that too.”
“I was also hoping that one day it would come full circle.”
At Belgrade, Wilson was also impressed by the performance of USA teammate Elle Purrier in the 3000.
“Watching Elle in the pack and then making her move to get the Silver impressed me and went into my thinking for my final.”
Always humble and graceful, Wilson also credited her club mates along with longtime Coach Thompson with Juventus Track Club of Philadelphia.
“Training with Charlene, Ursula Sero, Rob Downes, and others has given us a strong support group.”
Now, almost a week later, Wilson, who has some downtime. Yet the buildup for Outdoors begins soon.
“I’ll be racing at the Bermuda invitational & then running the 600 at the Penn Relays,” said Wilson, who’s also obviously focusing on Outdoor Nationals & The Worlds this Summer in Eugene!
“I don’t have blistering times,” said Wilson.
“But I’m always ready to compete.”