Olympics Athletics – Thompson-Herah scorches to 100m glory, closes on Flo-Jo

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TOKYO: Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah won the women’s 100 metres at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, defending her Olympic 100m crown and storming to victory in a Olympic record time of 10.61s.

Thompson-Herah led a Jamaican clean sweep of the medals, with two-time champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce taking the silver in 10.74s and Shericka Jackson bronze in 10.76s.

Elaine Thompson Herah of Jamaica wins the Women’s 100m Final during the Athletics events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, 31 July 2021. EPA-EFE/DIEGO AZUBEL

Thompson-Herah’s Olympic record winning time matched the second-fastest time in history of 10.61s set by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner. 

Griffith-Joyner, the 1988 Olympic champion, remains the world record holder with a best 10.49s 

Thompson-Herah, who won the sprint double at the Rio Olympics in 2016, had come into the blue riband event very much in the shadow of Fraser-Pryce.

At 34, and having had time out to have a baby, Fraser-Pryce was seeking to become the first woman to win a single individual Olympic event three times having previously triumphed in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games.

But Thompson-Herah was quick out of the blocks, hitting a top speed of 39.7kmh down the straight in a 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium empty of fans because of coronavirus restrictions in the Japanese capital.

Fraser-Pryce reeled her teammate in at the 50-metre mark, but Thompson-Herah dug deep to pull away for a memorable victory in 10.61s, beating by one-hundredth of a second the previous Olympic best set by American Florence Griffith-Joyner at the 1988 Seoul Games.

Only Griffith-Joyner has run faster than the Jamaican, having set the world record of 10.49s at the 1988 US Olympic trials – a day before also timing 10.61s.

Fraser-Pryce raced home in 10.74s for silver, while Shericka Jackson clocked a personal best of 10.76s, with the first six sprinters all dipping below the 11-sec mark.

“I knew I had it in me but obviously I’ve had my ups and downs with injuries,” said Thompson-Herah. “I’ve been keeping faith all this time. It is amazing.

“I’m grateful I could get back on the track, and get back out on the track this year to retain the title. Now I have one more to go,” she added in reference to the 200m, with heats on Monday.

Reuters / CNA