Right on track (and field)

Sarah Eberspacher
The Week

Beautiful images of world-class athletes in action

Track and field's finest wrapped up the IAAF World Athletics Championships on Saturday, after a week of reminding the rest of us just how feeble we really are.

The competition, held in Moscow, boasted plenty of dramatic performances both on and off the track. Glamor-jock Nick Symmonds tested Russia's tolerance for sexual freedom with a post-race speech dedicating his silver medal in the 800 meters to his gay and lesbian friends.

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And the always-extroverted Usain Bolt beat Mother Nature and Justin Gatlin to take back his 100-meter title following a false-start disqualification at the 2011 worlds.

Still, if the idea of running around in circles or jumping really high in spandex doesn't impress, well, maybe these photos of the elites in action will change your mind.

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Ivan Ukhov of Russia clears the bar in the men's high jump final. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

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Usain Bolt (lane six) of Jamaica leads the pack in the men's 100 meter dash final. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia competes in the women's pole vault final. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

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Gulfiya Khanafeyeva of Russia launches a hammer throw during the qualifying round. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

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Thomas Rohler of Germany winds up a javelin throw during the qualifying round. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

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Robert Heffernan of Ireland grins as he enters the final lap of the men's 50K race-walk (Heffernan went on to win the event). (REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler)

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Luis Rivera of Mexico lands hard during the men's long jump qualifying round. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

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Silke Spiegelburg of Germany begins to celebrate clearing the bar while still midair during the pole vault final. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica (right) wins the women's 100 meter dash ahead of English Gardner of the United States. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

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