Elaine Thompson Completes Sprint Double in Rio Olympics

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson became the world’s fastest woman this year and the first since 1988 to win the sprint double at the Olympics, when she raced to victory in a high-profile 200m rematch last night in Rio de Janeiro.

The 24-yr-old Thompson took the 100m title Saturday night (13th) in 10.71secs and returned with solid determination in every stride to clock 21.78 and defeat a formidable field that included pre-race favorite Holland’s Dafne Schippers (21.88) and USA’s Tori Bowie (22.15), silver and bronze, respectively, Marie-Jose Talou (Ivory Coast), Dina Asher-Smith (Great Britain), Michelle-Lee Ahye (Trinidad & Tobago), Deajah Stevens (USA), Ivet Lalova-Collio (Bulgaria).

Thompson flew out of the blocks and quickly made up the stagger on the rest of the field to lead into the straight, where Schippers soon tried to close her down. But as Schippers pulled closer, Thompson seemed to have thrown away her standard form and resorted to closing her fists, tightening her lips and gritting her teeth to hold off Schippers to the line as Schippers’ arms flayed before she fell to the track in a desperate lunge.

The new sprint queen, who lost to Schippers at the 2015 Beijing World Championships, noted in a post-race interview that this 200m race was rough as she hardly competed in that event this season to fully prepare for it. “I know Dafne is strong and is a creeper, and I could see her coming,” she said. “To beat Dafne is hard, but I am a warrior.”

Schippers said: “I was getting closer and closer. I felt I was nearly passing her, but then I broke down as well. I’m not happy with the silver.”

The last woman to achieve the feat of winning both events was Florence Griffith Joyner of the US at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Her compatriot Marion Jones repeated FloJo’s achievement when she competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games in Australia. However, her efforts were removed from the records after she admitted to using drugs.