Jamaica Strikes Gold First in Rio

shelly ann fraser pryce

Elaine Thompson ended her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s hopes of becoming the first woman in track to win three consecutive Olympic 100m titles. (Photo: Rio2016)

 

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Sunday August 14, 2016 – Jamaica won the English-speaking Caribbean’s first medals at the Olympic Games in Rio last night – gold and bronze –  in a highly-anticipated women’s 100m final.

Elaine Thompson’s gold-winning run saw her dethroning two-time champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and ending her compatriot’s hopes of a hat-trick of 100m titles.

When the race began, all eyes were on Fraser-Pryce, and not only because of her gold and green dyed hair. She was seeking to become the first woman in track to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the event.

But her training partner, 24-year-old Thompson, turned what was supposed to be one of the most competitive races on the Olympic programme into a stroll. Running at the halfway mark with Fraser-Pryce a.k.a Pocket Rocket and Tori Bowie of the United States, Thompson pulled away over the last half and finished in 10.71 seconds, just 0.01 seconds outside her personal best.

“When I crossed the line and glanced across to see I was clear, I didn’t know how to celebrate,” the new sprint queen said.

Bowie finished in 10.83 seconds to take silver while Fraser-Pryce had to settle for the bronze.

“What I’m most happy about is that the 100m title is staying in Jamaica,” the 29-year-old Fraser-Pryce said after the race. “I’m on the podium with my training partner . . . I am really happy for her. I’ve seen her work hard and it was her time. In 2008 it was my time, 2016 it is her time.”

fraser pryce

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was gracious after defeat.

 

The third Jamaican in the final, Christiana Williams, brought up the rear. She finished the race in 11.80 seconds but got some words of encouragement from the fastest man in the world, fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt.

Track action continues today with the men’s 100m semifinals and finals and the women’s 400m semifinals and men’s 400m finals. And Bolt will be aiming to take his first medal in the 100m, to start off an unprecedented ‘triple triple’.

He holds the world record in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay and won gold in all those events at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. If he wins them again in Rio, he will cement his name as the greatest sprinter in history.

In the 400m, defending champion Kirani James, the first Olympic medalist from Grenada, will be aiming for a place in the history books as well. He will seek to break the world record set by American legend Michael Johnson in 1999. James’ fellow countryman Bralon Taplin will also be in the final.

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