Tokyo Olympics: Thompson-Herah didn't have record in mind in storming 100m final showing

By Sports Desk July 31, 2021

Elaine Thompson-Herah insists she did not have any record in mind after her stunning victory in the women's 100 metres final at Tokyo 2020.

The Jamaican defended the title she won at Rio 2016 in sensational fashion, sprinting home in an Olympic-record time of 10.61 seconds to deny Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce becoming the first woman to win the same athletics event at three different Games.

It was the first time Thompson-Herah, who has endured a frustrating time with Achilles injuries since her crowning moment in Rio five years ago, had run below 10.7s.

But the 29-year-old was focused only on winning and believes her benchmark will too eventually be broken.

"Going into the final I didn't have a time in my head, I was just trying to execute the best race and I had the best race tonight because I got the PB," she told a post-race news conference.

"I wasn't looking at any record or any time as I said. But eventually those times will erase, even if it takes four or five years they will [be] erased [by] somebody. 

"Other women are coming up, rising, so to run this Olympic record tonight sends out a message anything is possible."

Fraser-Pryce had been the favourite to win the 100m for a third time in her decorated career but had to settle for silver, while Shericka Jackson completed a Jamaica one, two, three.

Thompson-Herah hailed Fraser-Pryce, who said this will be her final Olympics, as a benchmark in the sport.

"I wasn't checking the stats [of my races against Fraser-Pryce] I wasn't even counting," she added.

"She's a talented and a great athlete of course. She set the barrier for us younger generation coming through. As for a mum, she's soon to walk away from the sport, she's left her mark."

On the race itself, which saw Fraser-Pryce tense up over the last 30m with her rival right on her shoulder, Thompson-Herah confessed she had some nerves at the starting block.

"I've not seen the race as yet, I was super nervous but I had to control it. I knew all eight ladies were nervous," she said.

"We had done everything we could have done there is nothing else I could change. I think I had the best race tonight, I don't know if there is more to come but [I have] a PB and Olympic record so therefore tonight is the best race."

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    The 20-year-old Alfred, a sophomore at the University of Texas, won her preliminary round heat in 10.81, the fastest time in the NCAA this season and the second fastest time this year. Only Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce with the 10.67 she clocked in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 7 has run faster.

    The time also puts Alfred in an elite group of the top-10 fastest women from the Caribbean over 100m. Only Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.54), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.60), Merlene Ottey (10.74)., Kerron Stewart (10.75), Veronica Campbell-Brown (10.76) and Shericka Jackson (10.76) have, as Caribbean women, run faster than Alfred.

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    “It is indeed a proud moment for us. We, as a nation, are happy about such a performance. We look forward to her continued development and her continued progress in the sport of track and field.”

    He remained hopeful that Alfred would be able to deliver similar performances at the major championships.

    “The World Championship is on the horizon, the Commonwealth Games and even the Olympics, and we continue to be proud of her,” he said.

    Alfred will be favoured to win the final set for later Sunday despite being lined up in a stacked field that includes University of Texas teammates Kevona Davis, who ran a lifetime best 10.95 in the preliminary round, Kynnedy Flannel, as well as the speedy Rosemary Chukwuma from Texas Tech.

     

     

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