TOKYO -- Elaine Thompson Herah broke Florence Griffith Joyner’s 33-year-old Olympic record for the women’s 100m. She pointed at the scoreboard before crossing the line in 10.61 seconds Saturday. This allowed her to defend her title and led a sweep of medals by Jamaica.
Griffith Joyner broke the previous record of 10.62 at Seoul Olympics 1988.
Thompson-Herah won by 0.13 seconds over Shelly-Ann Fraser–Pryce, her main rival. Bronze was won by Shericka Jackson in 10.76, after she moved to shorter sprints for Tokyo Olympics.
Since FloJo, no Olympic champion has broken 10.7. As Thompson-Herah approached the finish, she wasn't certain she would be able to do it. She said, "I knew I won."
"The pointing, it's not clear to me what it means. She said it to show she was clear.
Elaine Thompson-Herah broke Florence Griffith Joyner’s 33-year-old Olympic record for the women’s 100 meters. She crossed the line in 10.61 seconds. Griffith Joyner broke the previous record of 10.62 at Seoul Olympics 1988. Getty Images
This was the first Jamaican sweep for medals since 2008 Beijing Games when the women achieved it. However, this feat was somewhat overshadowed by Usain Bolt's record-setting performance.
It is impossible to overlook Jamaican women who have had more success in sprinting than their male counterparts. Fraser-Pryce won the 2008 race and finished her Olympic set in 100. She now has two golds, a silver, and a bronze.
Fraser-Pryce vs Thompson-Herah will be rematching in the 200. Thompson-Herah is the current champion.
For days, if it wasn't months, this was shaping up to be a fast race. Fraser-Pryce was fourth fastest in history, running 10.63 seconds.
The sprinters discovered an Olympic Stadium track when they arrived in Japan. The Jamaicans cracked 10.8 in the semifinals on Saturday to make it onto the Olympic record book of the 10 fastest times.
It was then Thompson-Herah's time to make history.
FloJo's records have been around for longer than any other female sprinter, except Fraser-Pryce who was born 18 months earlier than the American. Griffith Joyner's world-record 10.49 is still in existence, and no woman has ever broken 10.6.
Fraser-Pryce thought it might be her. When she crossed the line in second she looked disbelieving. Then she stood still, her hands resting on her hips, looking at the scoreboard.
Thompson-Herah was not surprised. As she approached the finish line, she was looking to her left towards the clock. Bolt was the inspiration for her pointing, and she was still looking left as she approached the line. Bolt celebrated his 10.69-meter victory in 2008, setting the men's world record.
Thompson-Herah stated that "I think it would have been faster if I wasn’t pointing and celebrating, actually." To show you, there is more to come. Hopefully, one day I will be able to unleash that time.
The Bolt-less men's sprint was the closest to the women's 100, which is why the women's 100 emerged as the most promising race at the Olympics.
To emphasize that point, Trayvon Bromell (American sprinter) finished fourth in his qualifying heat. He had to wait almost an hour to find out if he would be granted one of the three wild-card spots in Sunday's semifinal round.
When asked about the run, he said that he did and that he had no words to describe it.
Another surprise was the Olympic debut of mixed 4x400 relay. Poland won the gold while Alexander Ogando from the Dominican Republic rolled over the line to take second place.
The U.S. was disqualified in the preliminary heat on the previous night, but it was reinstated following an appeal and settled for bronze. Allyson Felix, the woman who won the race in the world championships two years ago, was not included in the list.
Men's discus was the other medal event of the evening. Simon Pettersson and Daniel Stahl led a 1-2 Swedish finish. During a celebration in front a nearly empty stadium, the Swedes draped flags across their shoulders and ran on the grass down its backstretch.
Shortly after, the real running began and Thompson-Herah was in a place she was familiar with. She ran first at the Olympics but finished with 10.61 seconds, a time that no woman had ever seen.