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Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah sets Olympic record in women’s 100 meters

American Teahna Daniels, who replaced Sha’Carri Richardson in the race, placed seventh with a time of 11.02 seconds.

Elaine Thompson-Herah Getty Images

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah set a new Olympic world record Saturday (July 31) in the women’s 100 meters event.

Thompson-Herah defended her 2016 Olympic title and crossed the finish line with a blazing time of 10.61 seconds. She broke the previous 33-year-old Olympic record of 10.62 seconds, set by Florence Griffith Joyner at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Her finish is the second fastest time in history, behind FloJo’s 10.49 set at the Olympic trials in ‘88.

The Jamaican sprinter beat her fierce rival and teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce by .13 seconds. Shericka Jackson, another Jamaican runner, won bronze with a time of 10.76 seconds— completing a clean sweep on the podium for the Caribbean nation.

The victory gives Thompson-Herah her third Olympic gold medal. The 29-year-old won gold in the 100m and 200m events in Rio five years ago. “Behind this 10.6 was a lot of nerves, and I said, ‘You can do this, you’ve been here before, just execute,’” Thompson-Herah told reporters after the race. “I have more years. I’m just 29; I’m not 30, I’m not 40. I’m still working.”

Jamaica’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, celebrated the country’s wins in several tweets Saturday (July 31). “Proud cya done! #TeamJamaica 1,2,3. Congratulations to our women for a scintillating finals,” he wrote. “Let’s continue to make history!”

Jamaica is truly a superpower on global track and field,” a second tweet read.

Thopson-Herah has dealt with a nagging achilles pain since 2018. Her path to the Olympics was not easy, however when asked about her journey battling back from an injury she gave a gracious response.

“God is amazing,” she replied. “I’ve been struggling with my injury back-and-forth. I see all the bad comments. I see everything. For me to stay focused hold my composure to come out here… I take all my losses and all my defeats. I take them and I use them as my motivation. I do not dwell on them and I used them to take me here today. I’m really grateful for that.”

American runner Teahna Daniels, who replaced Sha’Carri Richardson in the race, placed seventh with a time of 11.02 seconds.

Watch the record-breaking race below:

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