Olympics: Day 2 Session 2 wrapSaturday, July 31, 2021
By Ian Burnett
TOKYO, Japan – Elaine Thompson-Herah became the second-fastest woman in history and the fastest alive when she smashed a high-quality field to retain her Olympic 100 metre crown in spectacular fashion earlier today.
Staged in a spectator-less Olympic Stadium on a quiet Saturday night here in Tokyo, the MVP-trained Thompson-Herah posted a new Olympic record of 10.61 seconds, bettering the previous mark of 10.62 seconds set by Florence Griffith-Joyner at the Seoul Games in 1988.
Left in her wake of the new Jamaica National record holder were compatriots, two-time Olympic 100m gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.74 seconds), who entered the Games as race favourite, and Sherica Jackson, also of MVP, who posted a new personal best 10.76 seconds to complete a clean sweep of the medals for Jamaica for the second time, having first done so at the Beijing Games in 2008.
But the writing was on the wall at the completion of the three semi-final heats, as Thompson-Herah looked imperious clocking a composed 10.76 seconds in semi-final one, easing up from the halfway stage as she appeared to float across the track.
Jackson also look smooth as she strode to 10.79 seconds, same as Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who had to work much harder in semi-final two, and Fraser-Pryce closed the semis with a controlled 10.73 seconds.
That all three medals seemed headed in Jamaica's bag was not in question, the only unknown was how they would be allocated.
Drawn in lane four, Thompson-Herah was quickly out the blocks to keep pace with the quicker Fraser-Pryce, in lane five and Jackson a little way off in third place.
Thompson-Herah pulled alongside Fraser-Pryce at the 50 metre mark and from then on it was a matter of how far she would have won as the MVP standard-bearer powered away for a facile victory of over a metre, even as she celebrated pointing to the display board she knew would excite watchers across the globe.
In her excitement she screamed repeatedly as she threw herself to the ground in celebration, before her compatriots, ventured towards her to offer congratulations and join in team pictures.
Earlier, Natoya Goule scored a comfortable win in heat one of three in the women's 800 metres in 1:59.57 minutes to book an automatic spot in the final slated for Tuesday night.
World Champion, Tajay Gayle, who injured his left knee and hobbled badly while experiencing excruciating pain, leapt 8.14m to qualify for the long jump final on Monday morning.
Gayle, who had to be helped from the pit on at least two occasions, and had his left knee bandaged, displayed rare courage to advance on the third jump, cutting the sand just short of the automatic qualifying mark of 8.15 metres.
In a chat with the media outside the mixed zone as he headed to the warm-down area, Gayle said he felt serious pain upon jarring the leg on landing in the pit. He said the pain running was tolerable but promised that he would do everything to compete in the final.
“If it bruk, a suh,” he said, noting that “this is the Olympics.”
His effort was good enough for third in Group B, and fourth heading into the final.
For Carey McLeod, who contested Group A, he could leap no farther than 17.75m, which placed him in 21st place overall. McLeod nearly missed the Games altogether, having contracted the COVID-19 and was delayed arriving in Tokyo.
In the men's 100 metre first round, Oblique Seville and Yohan Blake progressed, but National champion Tyquendo Tracey, was a non-starter in heat one after failing a fitness test during warm-up.
He had suffered a hamstring problem at training earlier in the week and was hopeful that he could compete, but during warm-up, it was determined he couldn't make it.
Seville looked easy in finishing second in a personal best 10.04 seconds in heat three, while Blake clocked 10.06 seconds to also finish second in heat seven.
In the men's discus final Chad Wright had a best throw of 62.56m to finish in ninth place, with victory going to favourite, Sweden's Daniel Stahl with 68.90m ahead of compatriot Simon Pettersson with 67.39m.
Jamaica's mixed 4x400m relay team of Sean Bartley, Stacey Ann Williams, Tovea Jenkins and Karayme Baryley finished in seventh place with 3:14.95 minutes.
Gold went to Poland in an Olympic record 3:09.87 minutes, ahead of Dominican Republic in a National record 3:10.21 minutes, with the US third in a season's best 3:10.22 minutes.
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