Elaine Thompson-Herah on taming the demons en route to Tokyo gold

Thompson-Herah's compatriot Usain bolt is the only other competitor to defend an Olympic sprint double.
Elaine Thompson Herah was suffering from Achilles pains two weeks ago, just before the Jamaican Olympic trials. Yet again.

Since Rio 2016, when she was doing the 100m-200m double, the injury had been recurring for nearly five years.

This was the second bout of intense pain. The doubts grew quickly. As the tendon was still tender, she feared that she might miss trials and end her title defense before it began.

She iced her heel and rested, knowing she needed to do something more.

She said that her mind wasn't in the right place, as she stated on BBC Radio 5 Live's All About podcast. "I had to change the talk in my head.

Thompson-Herah used to wake up every morning and pray, then read the Bible. On repeat, she started to listen to the particular spiritual "Anywhere You Lead Me" by Mercy Chinwo (Nigerian gospel singer).

Her faith in God strengthened her faith in herself. An Olympic title defense requires a bit more swagger if the poor inherit the earth.

She would grab her phone and open the notes app to write and read out affirmations after each practice session.

"I will run 10.5. I will run 21.5. I can do it. I am a winner. "I am a champion," began this list.

"I will be the fastest female alive." Believe it, say it, do it, and then work hard for it. I will be the Olympic double champion. Today is my day. It ended with "I am the greatest."

Thompson-Herah, 29 years old, explained that "You write it down, then you talk about it, and naturally, you will believe it."

Many others also needed convincing. Thompson-Herah was on the podium for the 100m at the London 2017 World Championships and Doha 2019. She had not reached the 200m final at either.

She was only able to make the Tokyo team in those Jamaican trials. Thompson-Herah finished third in the 100m. Shelly-Ann Fraser -Pryce was the fastest woman alive, and also the world champion. Shericka Jackson (a 400m specialist) also won ahead of Thompson-Herah.

The scene changed a month later.

Thompson-Herah ran 10.71 seconds, her fastest time in four year's - in her final race before Tokyo. In her 100m heat, she ran 10.82 seconds. In her semi-final, she was able to run 10.76 seconds.

As she grew stronger, rivals such as Dina Asher-Smith,Sha'Carri Richardson and Blessing Okagbare fell out of contention.

All the affirmations were about to come true. It was a place among the track's immortals. If she can get past the last hurdle.

Thompson-Herah recalled the night of the 100m final and said, "I was super nervous. More than usual." "I felt like my body was going to explode. I couldn't wait to run and get into my blocks.

Thompson-Herah was only more nervous after the introductions and grand light show that preceded Tokyo's 100m final.

"But first, they turned off all of the lights in the stadium. Then they started to introduce the finalists. They introduced lane 2, then lane 3, but instead of me in the fourth lane, they moved me to lane 9.

"I didn’t know why. They left me behind at the end. After two seconds silence, we were called to our respective marks.

"I said to myself that I could not change or fix anything. And that was it.

There was nothing that needed to be fixed. She broke through the line at the opposite end of the straight, and she sucked in the air.

Only Florence Griffith-Joyner, an American legend, had ever been faster than Thompson-Herah's 10.61 second win.

It could have been even faster. It could have been faster than the 10.49 world record. Thompson-Herah celebrated by raising her arm to celebrate the 10 metre mark.

She laughed when she was asked if she had ever seen the race again.

"I could have run 10.5, but I wasn't celebrating. I didn't realize I had done the pointing. My body knew that I was desperate to win.

"If it was possible to run it over, I would run straight up to the line. This is what I can fix: the transition was fantastic, the start was great and the transition was perfect, but the last 10 metres was a mess.

It didn't take her too long to think about it in Tokyo. She became the first woman to complete an Olympic double-double and also defend her 200m title three days later. She did it again with a performance that was second only to Flo-Jo on the all-time record.

Quote I was not the champion at high school. Elaine Thompson-Herah was faster than me.

Thompson-Herah was a pioneer in 2021 because of the small details, self-belief and the daily grind. It is the way she has worked her entire career.

Although she was a solid junior athlete, her performance was not exceptional. She was not the best in Jamaica or anywhere else in the world.

She said, "I didn’t win much when my size was small, and I wasn’t going to international competitions but I stood behind the sport because of the love that I have for it,"

"The love I have for my family takes me to higher heights. In high school, I was not the champion. Other girls were faster than my speed. Because of my roots, I am competitive, hardworking and motivated.

Thompson-Herah says she is ambitious and has yet to achieve her full potential. She wants to win more medals after winning the World Championships in Eugene in August and Budapest in August. If her injuries heal and she can run the clock, those world records will be very close.

She is ambitious for her sport, and she does so with a lot of passion. There are many sub-plots, characters, and talent in the women's sprints. The start-lists are a far cry from the equivalents for men.

She said, "The ladies are coming out to perform and that helps me run even faster."

Everyone wants to be at their best. These women are lighting up the stage this year, and I'm sure we can do it again next year.

"We want to grow our women's sports, because sometimes it's always the men doing what they do." It's time to step up."

It is a different matter whether anyone can surpass Thompson-Herah.

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