Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica defends title aver crossing the line in 10.61 seconds
Elaine Thompson-Herah broke Florence Griffith Joyner’s 33-year-old Olympic record in the women’s 100 meters, pointing at the scoreboard even before crossing the line in 10.61 seconds Saturday to defend her title and lead a Jamaican sweep of the medals.
Griffith Joyner set the old record of 10.62 at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Thompson-Herah beat her top rival, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, by .13 seconds. Shericka Jackson, who moved to the shorter sprints for the Tokyo Olympics, won bronze in 10.76.
Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica, celebrates as she wins the women’s 100-meters final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
This was the first Jamaican sweep of the medals since the women did it at the 2008 Beijing Games — a feat somewhat overshadowed that week by the record-setting performance by Usain Bolt.
But really, there is no overlooking the Jamaican women, who actually have a longer history of sprint success than the men in the island country. Fraser-Pryce finished on top in that 2008 race and completed her Olympic set in the 100, where she now has two golds (′08, ′12), a silver and a bronze (′16).
Fraser-Pryce and Thompson-Herah are headed for a possible rematch in the 200, where Thompson-Herah is also the defending champion.
This had been shaping up as a fast race for days, if not months. In June, Fraser-Pryce ran the fourth-fastest time in history at 10.63 seconds.
And when the sprinters arrived in Japan, they discovered a fast track at Olympic Stadium. In the semifinals earlier Saturday, the Jamaicans all cracked 10.8 to get on the list of the 10 best times in Olympic history.
Then, it was Thompson-Herah’s turn to make history.
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