RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Thursday August 18, 2016 – Elaine Thompson blasted to the 200m Olympic title last night, earning Jamaica another sprint double at the Rio 2016 Games and giving her the title of the first woman to win both sprints in the same Olympics since Florence ‘FloJo’ Joyner in 1988.
The 24-year-old left her main rival, Dafne Schippers, stumbling in her wake as she crossed the line a season’s best 21.78 seconds. The Dutchwoman finished in 21.88 and the USA’s Tori Bowie took bronze in 22.15.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 18, 2016
“My school motto was ‘let the light shine’ and I let my light shine tonight,” said Thompson.
“It’s a big surprise to me because I have had a hamstring injury. You must overcome these things and tonight I am standing here with a gold. To beat Dafne Schippers is a hard run.”
— Digicel Jamaica (@DIGICELJamaica) August 18, 2016
Earlier in the evening Thompson’s compatriot Usain Bolt, who is also seeking to add the 200m title to the 100m gold he won on Sunday, ran the fastest time across the three semi-finals, 19.78, his best this season.
Both Thompson and Bolt are aiming for triple gold in Rio, with strong chances as part of their respective 4x100m relay teams.
Canada’s Andre de Grasse ran alongside Bolt and recorded the second-best time, 19.80, causing the Jamaican to joke with him that it was not necessary to run so hard before the final.
“He was supposed to slow down,” Bolt said. “I said ‘What are you doing, it’s a semi-final?’ But I think he wanted to push me. I was a bit lazy but I got round. I don’t know what he was trying to do but he’s a young kid, he’s great.”
Bolt said that breaking his 200m world record (19.19) on Thursday remains in his sights.
“I definitely think I can try for the world record, I definitely feel that. I need to run efficiently and get into the straight and run the perfect race. If I can run a little more efficiently on the turns…I will be hoping for lane six or seven maybe to be able to run as smooth as I can.”
There were shocks when two of Bolt’s main rivals, the USA’s Justin Gatlin and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, failed to qualify for Thursday’s 200m final. However, the USA’s Lashawn Merritt, the fastest man over 200m this year, qualified with the third best time of the night, 19.94. (Rio2016)