TOKYO (AP) — 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.
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.
In a brief interview after the race Thompson-Herah said “I believe in God, I believe in myself. I believe in god and I have faith.” She admitted to being “super nervous,” but said she had taught herself to remain confident. On the 1-2-3 by Jamaica, she only said the feat was “amazing.”