World Women’s 100m: Who Will Wear the Coveted Crown?
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (35) is determined to leave Oregon with the 100m gold medal. She has the world-leading time of 10.67, and she has posted three sub-11secs three times this season.
One full second behind her is fast-finishing compatriot Shericka Jackson (28) at 10.77. Nipping at Jackson’s heel is double double Olympic champion and their compatriot Elaine Thompson-Herah (30) at 10.79. St. Lucia’s Julien Alfred and USA’s Alia Hobbs are tied at 10.82, rounding out the five fastest women in the world so far for this season.
Thompson-Herah was third at the Jamaica Trials with 10.89 behind Jackson’s 10.77 and newcomer Kemba Nelson 10.88 as Fraser-Pryce stayed out of the final with her bye as defending champion. Jackson then won the 200m, defeating Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce with a world leading 21.55 that puts her number three on the all-time list after World-record holder Florence Griffiths-Joyner (21.34) and Thompson-Herah (21.53).
In the eyes of many, Jackson’s latest feat and status have made her the favorite to take 200m if not the sprint double in Oregon, especially because Thompson-Herah changed coach. I beg to defer as I feel the same way about Thompson-Herah as I did last year when she placed third in the double at the Trials behind Fraser-Pryce, who prior to that clocked a massive 10.61 personal best, and Jackson. With an injury and self-doubt, Thompson-Herah defeat in Tokyo by Fraser-Pryce was already a swirling prediction.
This season, her situation is almost like last year’s: she has an injury and was defeated at trials, but Thompson-Hera is not a flash-in- the-pan Olympian; she is a true champion who knows to rise to the occasion when it matters.
Her coach and husband Derron, says “Elaine is Elaine and anytime the switch comes on, nothing can stop her.” In that statement, I hear the husband talking because he knows her temperament and understands her. Then I heard the coach talking when said was in much better shape than her third-place finish (at Trials) and that based on what she was doing in training, the result had nothing to do with where she was, adding that she was hitting all her targets in training and was primed to deliver in Eugene.
Like last year, Elaine Thompson has something to prove. A new coach doesn’t mean she’ll fail, and she wants the World title to add to her Olympic four. Can she put aside the onslaught of negative comments about her leaving her coach and has her rotating cup deeply affected her preparation for this?
Jackson is ready to deliver something special, and she seems confident about what she has in store. With 21.55 in the 200m after running so many rounds, it is scary to imagine what she can do in the 100m if she leaves the block with her competitors or if she comes out ahead of them.
It’s hard to get ahead of Fraser-Pryce when she calls on her signature bullet start, and her speed endurance has vastly improved over what it was in 2008/9, when Kerron Stewart closed in on her. In Tokyo, she couldn’t get away from Thompson-Herah who glided by her. Will she do better this time.
The answer to these questions will emerge in less that 11 seconds tonight at 9:50 p.m. Jamaica time.