A Vintage Thompson-Herah Emerges on the Horizon

Jamaica’s double-double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah is on her way back to where she belongs: the top of the Olympic podium. After two years of injury woes, slow times by her standards, a new shoe sponsor, and a new coach who knows how to work around her injuries, Thompson-Herah has found new life and renewed confidence that have pushed her to lower her season best significantly, for the third race in a row.

After capping a stunning 2021 season that made her the second fastest woman of all time, Thompson-Herah barely made it onto the Jamaican team to the Oregon World Championship and then scraped through to snatch a bronze behind compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson in the 100m. At worst, she ran seventh in the 200m final in Oregon, and her miserable season came to an end after she gave her last effort in the sprint relay.

The 2023 season arrived, and Thompson-Herah continued to perform much below par, thanks to her injuries and lack of race sharpness, and just made it onto Jamaica’s team to Budapest, only as a relay alternate. As things turned out, she ran a storming backstretch in the heats to help the team reach the final. Her duty in Budapest ended with that relay leg that signaled an upward trajectory for her.

With the World Championships behind her, Thompson-Herah clocked 10.92 seconds (+0.0 m/s) to win the 100m at the Gala dei Castelli in Bellinzona, Switzerland. Four days forward, she continued her return to form with an impressive 10.84 (0.0m/s) to take the 100m at the Van Damme Memorial Diamond League meet in Belgium. “It was a tough season,” she said, “but I´m glad that I´m back in my sprinting form.”

And back she is. Her power from the blocks, aggressive drive-phase execution, and smooth acceleration phase were reminiscent of her 10.54 run in 2021 and paint a clear picture of a vintage Elaine Thompson-Herah. Today, she takes on World 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson, Ivory Coast’s Marie-Jose Talou, and Jamaica’s World 200m champion Shericka Jackson at the Diamond League finale in Oregon, USA. Barring injuries, she should be back at full throttle to defend her Olympic titles in Paris next year.