Thompson-Herah says rivalry with Fraser-Pryce driving success both waysSaturday, August 28, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
ELAINE Thompson-Herah says the competition between herself and World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has pushed both women to their very best, resulting in them now closing in on the world record of 10.49 seconds held by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, which many previously thought was out of reach.
Both women had shared the Jamaican national record of 10.70 seconds until June this year, and since then have combined to run under that mark five times .
Thompson-Herah is the world leader with 10.54 seconds that she ran at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting before Fraser-Pryce lowered her personal best to 10.60 seconds at the Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, ahead of Thompson-Herah who ran 10.64 seconds.
“I would say yes,” Thompson-Herah said at the Paris press conference yesterday to the suggestion that both women are pushing each other.
“I ran 10.54 in Eugene, which I never thought I would do, [and] it's pretty close to the world record. And I know that once I hit that target others will think they can do that as well,” she said.
Thompson-Herah paid tribute to her former training partner: “She ran 10.63 in Jamaica, which is not far from the WR [world record]. She is a hard-working woman. She is 34 years old, and that gives me confidence for my [next] Olympics when I will be 32 years old. [I am] a 29-year-old athlete running 10.54 and I know that will motivate her [Fraser-Pryce] as well.”
Asked whether she accepts that she is the world record holder with her times, Thompson-Herah sidestepped and said she had to go out there and run the time to take the title.
The Manchester native said the world record of 10.48 is something she intends to go after to put the icing on the cake as being one of, if not the best female sprinter of all time.
“I think I need to run 10.48 to prove that anybody can break that record right now — and if I get the chance, I would do it,” Thompson-Herah said.
She added, however, that beating the 33-year-old world record was never part of her plans this season, but her consistent fast times have pulled her in that direction.
“That was never my target, to break the world record. The plan was just for me to stay healthy and retake my Olympic titles,” she said. “I did not know that I could reach that close. Years ago, if you would ask if we can break the record, I would say it's not possible. But this year it's a wonderful season and it tells us that our level of sprinting is improving and anything is possible. And hopefully, maybe by the end of the season, I could get it.
“But if not this year, I will put everything together and see how it goes next year. If I don't get it this year, I will be okay,” Thompson-Herah said.