It's like good old times for U.S. track team

For the U.S. team at the World Track and Field Championships, this was a day to reprise ancient history.

Lashinda Demus became the first U.S. champion in the women's 400-meter hurdles since Kim Batten in 1995.

Jesse Williams won the first U.S. medal in the men's high jump -- and it was gold - since 1991, when Charles Austin and Hollis Conway went 1-3.

And, in the most surprising result of Thursday's action in Daegu, South Korea, Jennifer Barringer Simpson became the first U.S. woman to win the metric mile since the legendary Mary Decker Slaney at the inaugural outdoor worlds in 1983.

In each event, this was just the second time in 13 world meets a U.S. athlete has taken the title.

"What a wonderful night for our team," Williams said.

Team USA also set up a showdown in the women's 200 with sprint rival Jamaica, as three from each country made Friday's final.

The U.S. trio is Carmelita Jeter, the new 100-meter champion; Shalonda Solomon, who has the world's fastest time this season; and Allyson Felix, winner of the past three world titles.  Veronica Campbell-Brown, 200 gold medalist in the last two Olympics, heads the Jamaican group.

That wasn't all for the red, white and blue: all four U.S. men made Friday's shotput final, and, after what had previously been a miserable season, defending long champion Dwight Phillips easily won the qualifying with his season best by 10 inches (27 feet, 3 3/4 inches).

With three days to go, the United States leads the gold medal count (seven) by three over Russia and Kenya and is tied with Russia overall (12).

And as for the trio who etched new lines in the worlds history books with three golds in 30 minutes?

*Demus, 28, mother of four-year-old twin boys from California, won the hurdles in an impressive U.S. record 52.47 seconds, third fastest ever for the event. (Video)  (The world record is 52.34 by Yuliya Pechonkina of Russia; the old U.S. mark was Batten's 52.61 in winning worlds.)  It was Demus'  first international title after world silver medals in 2005 and 2009.

*Williams, 27, is a former high school wrestler from North Carolina who steadily has made himself the world's best jumper after failing to make the 2009 world team, finishing 19th in the 2008 Olympics and 23rd in the 2007 worlds.  He came into this meet with the best jump in the world this year and won with one slightly lower, 7 feet, 8 1/2 inches, (video) beating Aleksey Dmitrik of Russia on fewer misses.

"I was in good shape throughout the year, and it got better and better," said Williams, whose season best is 7-9 1/4.  "Finally, everything came together."

*Simpson, who turned 25 last week and has been married since last October, was primarily a steeplechaser (she has the top three U.S. times ever in the 3,000 steeple) until she stunned everyone by breaking four minutes (3:59.90) in the 1,500 during her senior year at Colorado.  Only four other U.S. women, led by Slaney (3:57.12), have gone sub-four.

But that performance would seem only a mild shock compared to what Simpson did Thursday, ironically with the slowest winning time (4:05.40) in worlds history.

(For video of Simpson's race, click here.)

"I am supposed to say I am not surprised - all I Can say is a dream came true," Simpson said.  "The U.S. is becoming incredibly competitive in the 1,500.  Making the (world) team was very hard."

Simpson was so confident she began thinking before the race that winning would honor her sister Emily, a U.S. Army firefighter in Alabama, with the playing of the National Anthem.

 "So coming down the last 100 meters I was thinking, `Let's get that song playing,''' she said.

 When Morgan Uceny, CQ the more touted U.S. finalist, fell in a collision at 1,000 meters, Simpson looked trapped on the rail behind eight other runners.  With 300 left, she slid outside, then went wider for a stretch run in which she flew past three rivals to win by a meter over Hannah England of Great Britain.

 So it was Play it Again, Uncle Sam.  And a third time.