Olympic 100m queens
Jamaica’s women stamp sprint authority with another medal sweep
No country has been more dominant than Jamaica in the women’s 100 metres at the Olympic Games. That authority was again stamped inside the Tokyo Olympic Stadium last night, as Elaine Thompson-Herah led the way in a Jamaican medal sweep of the event.
Thompson-Herah returned to keep hold of the title she won at the 2016 Rio Games by outpowering Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 10.74 seconds, and stopping the clock at a blistering 10.61 seconds, erasing Florence Griffith-Joyner’s (Flo-Jo) 33-year Olympic record of 10.62 seconds.
Fraser-Pryce, as always, started well, but seemed to suffer a misstep after a few strides, losing a bit of momentum. However, she still managed to hold on to the early lead before a smooth-striding Thompson Herah caught her midway the race, found an extra gear and flew to the finish line in what is the second-fastest time in history. Only American world record setting Flo-Jo, 10.49 seconds, has gone faster.
The other Jamaican in the event, Shericka Jackson, recovered well after a horrid start to finish in third place in a personal best time of 10.76 seconds, finishing like a bullet train to secure the sweep for Jamaica.
Jamaica’s medals sweep was the second in this event at the Olympic Games.
The first women’s 100 metres sweep in Olympic history took place in Beijing in 2008, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce taking gold and Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson sharing the silver medal in an extraordinary tied finish.
It is a result that Thompson-Herah remembers quite well.
“In 2008 I was home watching that. I wasn’t even an athlete like I am now and I was super excited for them and to see that I am now a part of that history, it’s amazing,” Thompson Herah told The Sunday Gleaner.
“What can I say? We are Jamaicans. We are amazing!”
Since 1984, 30 medals have been handed out at the Olympic Games for the women’s 100m. More than half of those medals, 16, were or will be placed around the necks of Jamaican athletes.
The dominance is brought into sharper focus when the results since 2008 are examined. From 2008 to 2020, Jamaican women have won 10 of the 12 medals in the event.
The only two persons without a Jamaican passport who stood on the women’s 100m podium at the Olympic Games are the United States’ Carmelita Jeter in 2012 and Tori Bowie in 2016, both of whom won silver medals.
Fraser-Pryce, who catapulted to joint fourth on the all-time Olympic medals list with seven, also hailed the Jamaican dominance and says that she hopes the performance will serve as an inspiration for generations to come.
“The legacy that we have in Jamaica is incredible and I hope that no matter what happens, our athletes can draw inspiration from whomever. From Shericka (Jackson) being a quarter-miler stepping down to the sprints, from Elaine (Thompson-Herah) running the Olympic record, from myself, coming for my fourth Olympic Games, whatever it is, I am hoping that Jamaican athletes can draw inspiration from that,” Fraser-Pryce said.
Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey (nine) and Veronica Campbell-Brown (eight), along with American Allyson Felix (nine), are the only women with more Olympic medals in athletics than Fraser-Pryce.
She will, of course, get a chance to join Felix and Ottey on nine medals if she finishes in the top three in the 200m and 4x100m relay.
Jackson, who was competing in the 100m for the first time at a senior championship, was thrilled to be part of the historic achievement.
“I have always liked to see the sprinters perform, I think they always give it their best and to be able to win so many medals between them is really amazing,” said Jackson, an Olympic and World Championships medallist in the 400m. “We will continue to dominate and get more and more medals because we are the greatest.”
“It is amazing to be among them. I always watched them compete over the 100m and to be among them is great and yes, this medal sweep is simply amazing. We work hard, yes, everybody works hard but when we bring it, we bring it all the way to the end, that’s how we are as Jamaicans. Like I said, we are the greatest,” Jackson beamed.
All three women will return for the heats of the women’s 200 metres, which start at 10:30 a.m. on Monday (8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jamaica time).