Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson becomes new sprint queen as she scoops 200-metre title in Rio
Thompson, who won the 100-metre crown on Saturday, times a season’s best 21.78 seconds to trump Dutch favourite Dafne Schippers
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson sealed an Olympic sprint double after scorching to victory in the women’s 200m on Wednesday.
Thompson, who won the 100-metre crown on Saturday, timed a season’s best of 21.78 seconds to trump Dutch favourite Dafne Schippers, who won silver in 21.78.
“I knew she had a strong finish, so I knew I had to get out there as soon as possible,” Thompson said of her Dutch rival.
“I have the gold so I can’t complain.”
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Thompson said her victory was made special by the former Jamaicans who have won the sprint events.
“It is very special for me to win,” she said.
“I spent my childhood growing up watching Veronica Campbell-Brown and then Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
“To beat Dafne Schippers is a real fight and it was a tough race as I’ve had a hard season,” the Jamaican said, adding that she was worried earlier this season about even making the Games.
Schippers was left devastated by the result.
“I came for the gold, I’m not happy with the silver,” said Schippers, who won gold in last year’s Beijing world championships with 21.63, the fourth fastest time ever run over the distance.
“I was in better form and at the moment it’s less than before.
“My time’s okay but not strong enough.
“It’s tough to run six races (in both 100 and 200m). I was getting closer and closer to her and felt I was nearly passing her, but broke down.”
It was a first Olympic sprint double since American world record holder Florence Griffith Joyner’s at the Seoul Games in 1988.
American Tori Bowie claimed bronze (22.15) to go with the silver she won in the 100m.
“I feel like my execution at the start from the blocks was not the way I normally execute,” the American said.
“My goal today was to finish as best I could and I’m leaving with another medal. Who couldn’t be thankful for that?”
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Thompson, running in lane six, was pulled along on the coat-tails of Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago outside her over the first 80 metres.
The danger Schippers posed for the Jamaican was always going to be coming off the bend, but Thompson managed it perfectly, powering through and accelerating away for victory.
Schippers also started well, and despite a good view of Thompson from her lane four, was unable to make up any ground on the fast-finishing Jamaican.
“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.”