DOHA, Qatar — None of them could believe it. Not the woman who pulled off the biggest upset of the world championships. Not the woman she beat.
And certainly not that second-place finisher’s husband _ decathlete Maicel Uibo, who walked away with a silver medal that was almost as big a surprise as the one his wife is taking home.
On a warm-and-fuzzy kind of night at the track where nothing went quite as expected, Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo suffered her first loss in the 400 meters in more than 25 months despite shattering her personal-best time by more than half-a-second. The woman who beat her was 21-year-old Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain, whose time of 48.14 seconds was the fastest since 1985 and the third fastest ever.
When Naser crossed the finish line and saw her time, her jaw dropped in a look of utter amazement _ a far cry from Miller-Uibo’s stony glare at the scoreboard: How could she run 48.37 and lose?
Uibo, the decathlete, certainly didn’t come out of nowhere, but neither was he at the top of the list of medal candidates.
Meanwhile, Uibo had been slowly climbing up the standings, from sixth, to fifth, to third, to first.
Naser looked more like a 100-meter sprinter as she moved into the homestretch and built a seven-step cushion over Miller-Uibo, who became famous in her homeland, the Bahamas, when she dove across the finish line to beat Allyson Felix in the final of the 2016 Olympics.
There were no such dramatics this time.
“When I saw the distance between us, I said, in my head, ‘I let her get too far away,’” Miller-Uibo said. “I knew I had a lot of strength coming home, but I just couldn’t get her.”
All that was left was to hang out and see how Maicel would do about a half-hour later, as he dragged his exhausted legs to the start of the 1,500 to finish off the evening.
Shortly after her husband crossed, Miller-Uibo walked out and doused him with a bottle of water, then gave him a kiss.
“It’s great we get to celebrate together,” Miller-Uibo said.
They train together, too. Maicel described the relationship as “competitive at times.”
“It’s on and off the track. Anything, really,” he said. “Sometimes we just argue about who our dogs love most.”
Maybe soon, they’ll tease each other over who has the prettier of those two silver medals they’re taking home. The obvious answer for both husband and wife: “I do.”