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VIDEO: Olympics 100m sweep lifts Jamaicans amid pandemic

Saturday, July 31, 2021

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica swept the women's 100m medals at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, an achievement that has triggered celebrations across the island among a coronavirus pandemic-weary population.

“I feel good, I feel good, I feel good for my Jamaican people,” said a woman who was at the heart of the celebrations in Half-Way Tree after Elaine Thompson-Herah ran an Olympic and national record 10.61 seconds to lead the 1-2-3 for Jamaica in the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday.

“Because of corona (COVID-19) and what we are going through, I feel good,” added the woman as she waved a small Jamaican flag.

Jamaica is presently bracing for a third wave of the pandemic that has killed more than a thousand people and infected tens of thousands in the country. Lockdowns as a result of the crisis have crippled many livelihoods. 

With the win, Thompson-Herah successfully defended her Olympic Games 100m title and copped Jamaica's fourth consecutive win in the event – her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who grabbed the silver Saturday in 10.74 seconds, won at the 2008 and 2012 Games in Beijing and London respectively.

The third Jamaican in the race, Shericka Jackson took the bronze with a new personal record 10.76 seconds as the Jamaicans completed their second-ever sweep of the 100m at the Olympics after a 1-2-2 finish in Beijing in 2008.

A relatively scanty crowd in Half-Way Tree, where hundreds usually gather to watch major Olympic events involving Jamaicans, highlighted the impact of the coronavirus on the small island nation. 

“It's an overwhelming feeling,” one of the celebrants in Half-Way Tree told Observer Online.

The man added: “Knowing that they (the athletes) were out for a year (due to COVID-19) and had to be waiting… Up to two weeks ago, (the Olympics) wasn't a surety, so for them to go out there and do it, it's a great feeling,” he added.