In demonstrating its continuing, sheer athletic prowess, Jamaica on Tuesday, Aug. 3 won gold during the 200m and on Saturday, July 31 swept the women’s 100m at the Tokyo Olympics.
Elaine Thompson-Herah, 29, defended her 2016 gold medal with an Olympic record and personal best of 10.61 seconds during the 100m, and, consequently, assumed the title of the world’s fastest woman alive. On Tuesday she won the 200m in a blistering 21.53, the second-fastest time in history.
According to ABC News, Thompson-Herah’s teammates joined her on the podium, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce taking silver, with her time of 10.74 seconds, and Shericka Jackson the bronze with 10.76 seconds.
“Just a lil girl from BANANA GROUND who liked to run,” Thompson-Herah tweeted after her triumph. “Believe In your dreams, work hard and have faith in God.”
Thompson-Herah hails from the community of Banana Ground in the Bellefield Division of the Manchester Municipal Corporation in Jamaica, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.
It said on Sunday that the corporation has announced that it will present the “Key to the Town of Mandeville,” the capital of the Jamaican parish of Manchester, to Thompson-Herah in light of her latest Olympic triumph.
Donovan Mitchell, mayor of Mandeville, said the municipal body joins the people of Manchester and Jamaicans at large in celebrating Thompson-Herah’s feat, the Gleaner said.
“We are particularly pleased with the performance of ‘our daughter of the soil’ Elaine,” the publication quoted Mitchell as saying. “She is very special to us because she is one of us, and her performance on the world stage, like Shelly-Ann and Shericka, further cements the adage that ‘it is not where you are coming from but rather where you are going’”.
Mitchell also said the corporation is considering another more tangible way of honoring Thompson-Herah and will make that announcement later, the Gleaner said.
It said Thompson-Herah grew up in Banana Ground, a quaint farming district north of Mandeville.
In her earlier years, she ran for the Christiana High School and later the Manchester High School, said the Gleaner, adding that Thompson-Herah was previously honored, with a road in her community being named after her.
Fraser-Pryce’s feat made her the first athlete to win four Olympic medals in the women’s 100m, ABC News said.
It said Jamaica last swept the women’s 100m at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
It was the second time during the Tokyo Games that a team swept an event, after Switzerland took home all three medals in the women’s cross-country mountain bike race earlier in the week, ABC said.
“Congrats to Elaine on successfully defending her title,” Fraser-Pryce said on Facebook. “Grateful to make the podium for a 4th final.”
The three sprinters are also competing in the 200m and are in the relay pool for the 4x100m relay, both this week, according to ABC News.
After the 100m race on Saturday, retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, regarded as the fastest man on the planet, acknowledged the medal sweep, tweeting “1.2.3”, with three Jamaican flags, ABC News said.
“It was a superb run from Thompson-Herah, who has struggled with injury since winning the 100m and 200m titles five years ago in Brazil,” said Eurosport.com, stating that only American great Florence Griffith-Joyner, in 1988, has run quicker than her.
“Fraser-Pryce had been favorite to take gold, but even her time of 10.74, which itself is inside the top 10 fastest ever, was not enough to take top spot on the podium,” it added.
In hailing the female athletes’ remarkable victory, Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness described their performances as “scintillating” and “unforgettable”.
“This morning, all of Jamaica, Jamaicans across the globe and, indeed, the world witnessed history, as our ladies delivered, in magnificent style, a clean sweep in the 100m sprint at the Tokyo Olympics,” said Holness in a statement, adding that the athletes have “etched their names and legacy among the greats in global sports.
“They carried the hopes of an entire nation with them, as they delivered scintillating and unforgettable performances, cementing in the consciousness of the world, the greatness, resilience and winning spirit of Jamaica, land we love,” the Jamaican leader continued.