It was an unusual place to hold a high-jump competition — a parking lot outside a shopping mall in late June. Customers stopped briefly with their bags. A cluster of spectators, including Ukrainian war refugees finding a moment to cheer, stood along a railing. Human statues, painted gold, froze in poses as ancient Olympians. Cars and trucks whisked south on the highway toward Slovakia.

If it was not a traditional meet, nothing has been conventional lately for Yaroslava Mahuchikh, 20, of Ukraine, the displaced Olympic bronze medalist who is the gold medal favorite at the world outdoor track and field championships that began Friday in Eugene, Ore. Read More