Elaine Thompson-Herah defends Olympic 100m title on all-Jamaican podium

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A month and a half ago, Elaine Thompson-Herah believed she might not be able to compete in the Tokyo Olympics as she struggled to overcome a lingering Achilles injury. Now she is not only a gold medalist, but also an Olympic record holder.

His time of 10.61 seconds on Saturday broke the 33-year-old record of Florence Griffith Joyner, set in Seoul, spearheading the Jamaican podium with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in second and Shericka Jackson in bronze.

Was Griffith Joyner’s world record of 10.49 a possibility? “Most definitely if I didn’t celebrate,” Thompson-Herah told reporters. Asked again about the world record, she added: “I’m still working, it’s a work in progress … Anything is possible.”

The victory was the 29-year-old’s third Olympic gold medal, adding to her 100m and 200m titles won in Rio five years ago.

Thompson-Herah, Fraser-Pryce and Jackson escape the field in the women's 100m final.
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Another Jamaican, Usain Bolt, won three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100m between 2008 and 2016, and Thompson-Herah now has a chance to do the same in Paris.

“Behind that 10.6 was a lot of nerves, and I said, ‘You can do it, you’ve been here before, run it,’” she told reporters.

“I’m older. I’m only 29, I’m not 30, I’m not 40. I’m still working.”

With fans banned from attending Olympic events in Tokyo amid the pandemic, the final took place in the nearly empty vicinity of the 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

However, an impressive light show ensured that the minutes before the race were not devoid of energy or excitement.

Stadium lighting was dimmed and the track illuminated with the names of each competitor as they were announced to the few spectators scattered around the arena – a dazzling forerunner worthy of an event that promised great drama after six athletes had finished. ran under 11 seconds in the heats on Friday.

And those who were present on a hot and humid Tokyo evening weren’t disappointed, as Thompson-Herah went neck-to-neck with Fraser-Pryce midway through before moving away into the finals.

Fraser-Pryce and Thompson-Herah lead the way in the 100m final.

Reigning world champion Fraser-Pryce – who clocked a time of 10.74 – now has two gold, one silver and one bronze in the 100m over four Olympics, while Jackson – third in 10.76 – adds Rio’s silver and bronze to her 4x400m.

It was a repeat of the 2008 Beijing Olympics when three Jamaican athletes – Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart – also stepped onto the podium.

Asked about the celebrations that will likely ensue at her home in Jamaica, Fraser-Pryce said: “I hope they don’t defy the curfew orders, but I’m sure it will be remarkable to have three of them. our ladies standing on the podium like we did in 2008, it’s amazing.

“I hope they celebrate with a lot of positive energy and that they celebrate each of the athletes and continue to support us. There is a long way to go, we have the 200m and the 4x100m.”

The 200m qualifying heats will start on Monday and the final will take place the next day.

Thompson-Herah, Fraser-Pryce and Jackson, who moved from the 400m to the sprint events, will face stiff competition from American Gabby Thomas and Bahamas Shaunae Miller-Uibo.

But based on Friday’s race, another Jamaican one-two-three isn’t entirely out of the question; nor, moreover, are times more dazzling.

Apart from the first three, Ivorian Marie-Josée Ta Lou finished fourth for the second consecutive Olympic Games with a time of 10.91, while Briton Dina Asher-Smith was a surprise absent from the final, not having managed to qualify earlier on Friday.

She later said she would not be able to compete in the 200m due to an injury.

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