Jamaica track and field star Elaine Thompson-Herah has her eyes set on eclipsing the long-standing women’s 100m record, but after adding the Diamond League trophy to her list of outstanding accomplishments this year, she is content to leave that feat until next season.

Once again, the Olympic champion proved to be in a class of her own on Thursday's Diamond League finale, in Zurich, pulling well clear of a quality field to stop the clock at 10.65.  The time was the athlete’s fourth run under 10.7s this season, the most times done by any female athlete in history.

The performance marked yet another outstanding achievement for Thompson-Herah who a few weeks ago claimed the sprint double in Tokyo, and also in the process broke American Florence Griffith-Joyner’s longstanding 100m Olympic record.

However, it was a performance a few weeks later, a jaw-dropping 10.54 set in Eugene, Oregon, that set tongue’s wagging and raised expectations for a world record challenge.  The time was not only the second-fastest ever run over the distance but just 0.5 seconds outside of Griffith-Joyner’s world record, for many years believed to be unapproachable.  After a long, tiring but extraordinarily successful season, however, the athlete is more than content to leave that pursuit for another time.

“It has been a crazy season, a long one and a tiring one. I was so consistent because I was just keeping the faith in me and did not allow any negativity,” Thompson said following the event.

 “I am really happy and grateful. I am tired now but this is my job. I would describe this season with one word: amazing, yet it had ups and downs. I have to give God thanks that I am healthy and that I could finish such a long season…This year, it was a long season with ups and downs, but next year, the world record is definitely on my mind.”

Jamaica track and field star Elaine Thompson-Herah has made it clear she is more than satisfied with her accomplishments for this season, without breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner’s longstanding record.

On Saturday, it was a familiar sight as the Jamaican coasted to the line in a time of 10.72, fast by any standards, except perhaps her own recent lofty achievements.

Thompson-Herah clocked 10.61 to claim the 100m at the Olympics, but it was a 10.54 clocking two weeks later that set tongues really wagging as the mark was just 0.5 seconds outside of the American’s immortal time.  For now, however, the Jamaican is happy to be healthy and more than content with her achievements so far.

“I am thankful I crossed the line healthy. I am already in the books, so I am happy about that. I am just focusing on myself - on my start, on my execution and to be confident,” Thompson-Herah said.

“Obviously, it is more about the time after all these events and my health always comes first. I know everybody is thinking I am targeting the world record, and... I know it is close but for this season I am already super happy."

At the Lausanne Diamond League on Thursday, Thompson-Herah finished second in 10.64, an unfamiliar position in recent weeks but it was her decorated compatriot Fraser-Pryce who clocked a new personal best 10.60 for first place.  For her part, she believes it would have been nice to have her compatriot and fiercest competitor in Paris.

"It is a pity that she is not here, because we push each other to be better. She is the only athlete on the planet who can approach 10.5,” Thompson said ahead of the race.

Jamaica sprint sensation, Elaine Thompson-Herah, insists breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner’s longstanding record isn’t a target but believes it remains very much within reach.

Thompson-Herah demanded the world sit up and take notice when she eclipsed another longstanding record held by the American at the Olympics a few weeks ago.

The Jamaican’s 10.61, winning time at the Games, run into a -0.6 wind erased Florence-Joyner’s 1988 Olympic record of 10.62.  Just a few weeks later, however, and the athlete obliterated that mark, clocking 10.54 in another dominant showing against a quality field, this time in Eugene, Oregon at the Prefontaine Classic.

This time the wind speed recorded for the race was +0.9.  Now, only Griffith-Joyner’s mark of 10.49 remains on the horizon and there is little doubt, for the first time in decades, it could be eclipsed.

"Going to Prefontaine there was no intention of breaking that record," Thompson-Herah said.

"It was a normal race day and I came out if with a PB after a tiring championship,” she added.

"10.5 is definitely in my reach but I wouldn't say it's a target right now.

"On a perfect day and perfect weather, if I get that, I would definitely challenge it.”

 

Despite once again re-writing the record books, Jamaica sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce admits she was not expecting to clock such a fast time.

On Saturday, at the JAAA Destiny Series, in Kingston, Fraser-Pryce ran the fastest women’s 100m time since Florence Griffith-Joyner set the world record 33 years ago. 

The multiple-times Olympic and world champion stopped the clock at 10.63, moving her second on the list of the fastest times in history.  The time, which obliterated her previous national record of 10.70, is only bettered by Griffith-Joyner’s 10.49.

“I was just making sure that I had a good run before the National Championships, because I don’t have any more races before that.  I was just looking forward to putting in a solid race,” Fraser-Pryce said following the event.

“I was focused on getting my technique and everything together ahead of the national championship.  So, in terms of the 10.6, I really wasn’t expecting it to be honest and maybe that was a good thing,” she added.

Heading into her final Olympics, Fraser-Pryce had insisted that she would prioritise running fast times, having already won several gold medals.  The race was the athlete’s fourth over the distance this season, having opened with a fourth-place finish at the Diamond League meet in Gateshead.  In Doha last week, she recorded the then 3rd fastest 100m time this season after crossing the line first in 10.83.

 

 

Is Florence Griffith-Joyner, the greatest female sprinter of all time?

It depends on who you ask.

For many Americans, the late flamboyant American woman who holds the world record in both 100 and 200m, and also won three gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, is the one. Outside the US, the answer is not as clear as many believe that a certain Jamaican, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion, is in fact the greatest.

This week, Olympian turned coach and broadcaster Ato Boldon might have changed one iconic American’s mind about who is truly the greatest female sprinter of all time.

During his Athletics Live interview on Instagram with Flo-Jo's best friend and two-time Olympic 100m champion Gail Devers on Wednesday, Boldon asked Devers, who she thought was the greatest female sprinter. It was a question posed by a viewer.

‘I’ve got to go with the world-record holder,” said Devers matter-of-factly, after a brief pause. 

Boldon, a big fan of Griffith-Joyner, replied: “I get into trouble with that because I have to broadcast with my head and not my heart. I can’t have any allegiance and I look at what Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has done. Two gold medals and a bronze in back-to-back-to-back; the four world titles, more than anybody else, male or female. I know she doesn’t have the world record, obviously, but if you go ‘Tom Brady is the greatest or (basketball legend) Bill Russell or whoever is the greatest; it’s based on the championships,” Boldon opined while Devers nodded in agreement.

Boldon, who like Griffith-Joyner attended UCLA and admitted that he worshipped the ground she walked on, also reasoned that Flo-Jo only had one great season when she set world records in both the 100m and 200m and then went to the Olympics and won the sprint double and the 4x100m relay and picked up a silver behind Russia in the 4x400m.

“Yes, it was the greatest year ever, but it was the one year,” he said.

Devers then responded saying “I get what you’re saying” but Boldon continued to reinforce his point pointing out that if anyone asked Mike Powell, who has held the long jump world record for 30 years now, who is the greatest long jumper, he would say Carl Lewis “without even thinking about it.”

Lewis won long jump gold in four consecutive Olympic Games – 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996.

But the Trinidadian was not done. He added that most people would never consider Wayde van Niekerk, the 400m world record holder, the greatest 400m runner of all time over Michael Johnson.

“You have to apply the rules the same way,” Boldon said. “Most world record holders aren’t necessarily the greatest.”

Confronted by the veracity of the points Boldon made, Devers relented.

“You’re right, you’re right,” she agreed. “It’s as you said, it’s the consistency, it’s how many titles, can they come back-to-back. I have to give some second thought to that. You’re right.”

 

 

 

 

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