'Locked and loaded'
Thompson-Herah 'on a mission' at golden Lausanne Diamond LeagueThursday, August 26, 2021
Paris, France (AFP) — A golden array of Olympic champions has allowed the organisers to boast that the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne offered 'Best of Tokyo in 2 Hours' but even they were in doubt over the headline race.
While World Athletics also crowed on Tuesday that 19 Olympic gold medallists had signed up for the 'Athletissima' meeting, the ninth leg of the Diamond League, the most eye-catching is sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah, who says she is on “a mission”.
The Jamaican broke Florence-Griffith Joyner's 33-year-old Olympic record as she took gold in Tokyo. Thompson-Herah then shaved another 0.07sec off her best time when she ran 10.54sec in the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic in Oregon on Saturday.
Only Griffith-Joyner, who set the world record of 10.49 in Indianapolis in 1988, has run faster.
Before Thompson-Herah's explosive win in Tokyo, the American had the three fastest times in history, now she has three of the five best and the Jamaican wants the record.
“I think the records are in reach because I ran 10.5 and I have so much more within me,” Thompson-Herah said after her win in Eugene. “I have a mission to complete.”
“I have more races, so I don't get too excited, too carried away. I have to continue doing the job,” she said.
On Thursday night she is due to face six of the seven women she beat in Tokyo including the silver and bronze medallists, compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.
That is one of five events in Lausanne where all three athletes who stood on the Olympic podium entered.
Competition opened on Wednesday with a city-centre men's high jump, but spectators will be deprived of a rematch between the two men who agreed to share gold in Tokyo.
While one Olympic champion, Italian Gianmarco Tamberi, was expected to be there, the other Mutaz Barshim withdrew after the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al-Thani, asked the jumper to be his guest of honour at a celebratory function back home on Thursday.
“An invitation,” World Athletics said, ominously, “that could not be refused.”
The man World Athletics called their 'Harry Lime', Belarusian Maksim Nedasekau, the third man in an epic Tokyo duel who ended up with bronze, was expected to be there.
Today the action switches to the cosy Stade Olympic de la Pontaise, but while the 48,000 seats at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium were empty for the Games, this time athletes will compete in a packed stadium close to its 12,200 capacity.
Other events with all three Olympic medallists competing include the women's high jump, the men's 800m, the men's shot, where American double Olympic champion Ryan Crouser could attack his own world record.
Some Olympic champions are switching events.
Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who smashed the 400m hurdles world record in Tokyo, will run the 400m flat.
His compatriot Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the Olympic 1500m champion, and the 10,000 gold medallist Ethiopian Selemon Barega, will more or less split the difference and face each other in the 3,000m.
Swede Armand Duplantis, who won the Tokyo pole vault, will face Tokyo runner-up, American Chris Nilsen, former Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie from France, and double World Champion Sam Kendricks who is making his return after missing the Games with coronavirus.