Record-breaking Elaine leads another Jamaican sweep in OregonSunday, August 22, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
JAMAICA'S two-time Olympic Games sprint double champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah took another giant step towards immortality in the 100m when she lowered her national record and world-leading time to 10.54 seconds (0.9m/s), after she destroyed a quality field at yesterday's Prefontaine Diamond League meeting at the refurbished Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Thompson-Herah lowered her own national record and world-leading 10.61 seconds set on July 31 in the Olympic finals, and added Diamond League and meeting records to the list of accomplishments.
Thompson-Herah's time improves on her second-fastest 100m ever and is the fastest in 33 years since American Florence Griffiths-Joyner ran the World record 10.49 seconds in the second round of the US Trials in Indianapolis in 1988.
In their first appearance since the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Jamaican trio of Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.73 seconds) and Shericka Jackson, who lowered her personal best yet again to 10.76 seconds, repeated their feat from Tokyo by sweeping the top three places in the race.
Brianna Williams, who had joined them in winning the 4x100m relay gold medal in Tokyo, was eighth in 11.09 seconds as the expected challenge from American Sha'Carri Richardson did not materialise when she faded to ninth in 11.14 seconds.
It was Richardson's first race since she finished first in the US Trials on the same track in late June, but was subsequently stripped of that title and banned for a month after she failed a drug test and also missed the Olympic Games.
After running 10.72 seconds, the sixth-fastest ever, in April and two more sub 10.80-second clockings, the 21 year-old was seen as the runner to end American global mediocrity in the short sprints.
It was Thompson-Herah's time to shine, however as — after the race was held up when American Teahna Daniels held up her hands and asked for a reset — there was no catching her once she streaked away from the field to stamp her class and authority.
“To come back with a PB [personal best] after the championships, that is amazing,” she said after the race. “It means a lot to me...because my job is to inspire a generation. I have more races, so I don't get too excited, too carried away. I have to continue doing the job.”
Fraser-Pryce admitted the race did not go as expected, but said she had a good outing.
“If you are going out there, you are expecting to be the winner,” she told reporters after the race. “It didn't go according to how I wanted it, but nevertheless I think I had a good race. [There are] still things that I need to work on, so you take that lesson and you move on and you work on that,” she shared.
Richardson, who was interviewed on national television after the race, said:, “Coming out today, it was a great return back to the sport. I wanted to be able to come and perform after having a month off and dealing with all I was dealing with. I'm not upset with myself at all.”
Meanwhile, Jamaica's Natoya Goule was third in the women's 800m running 1:57.71 seconds, well behind Olympic champion Athing Mu who blew the field away to win in a new American record 1:55.04 seconds, well ahead of another American Kate Grace who was second in 1:57.60 seconds.
All three Jamaicans in the women's 400m hurdles finished down the field, with Olympic finalist Janieve Russell placing fourth in 54.50 sceonds, Ronda Whyte in seventh with 55.57 seconds and Leah Nugent eighth in 55.86 seconds.
Olympic silver medallist Dalilah Muhammad won with a meet record 52.77 seconds while Shamier Little, also of the USA, took second with 53.79 seconds and Panama's Gianna Woodruff was third with an Area Record 54.20 seconds.