This fireball has proven to the world that the Olympics is a very unpredictable event and it’s not over until the ‘fat lady sings’, or even more relevant—crosses the finish line.
The Jamaican sprinter truly represented her island phenomenally in Rio, having sprinted past both veterans and new comers alike in the Olympic Games track and field competitions.
The 24 year old copped gold medals in the individual competitions to which she ran – 100m and 200 m – and silver in the women’s 4 x 100m relay sprint finals.
“My school motto was ‘let the light shine’ and I let my light shine tonight.” – Elaine Thompson subsequent to winning the women’s 200m.
She is undoubtedly a record holder, having won two gold medals since 1988 where legend Florence Griffith Joyner won same at the Olympics in Seoul.
“It’s a big surprise to me because I had a hamstring injury earlier this year. You must overcome these things and tonight I am standing here with a gold. To beat Daphne was hard but I am a warrior.” – Elaine Thompson.
The Banana Ground, Manchester was especially ecstatic as news of Elaine’s win generated a myriad of smiles, tears, screams and the ever popular pot cover clangs in sheer excitement. Her place of birth could arguably be one of the happiest towns in history in reaction to her win.
“Elaine loves to run, her greatest motivation is Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. She speaks about her very much.” – Elaine’s grandmother.
Born on June 28, 1992, Thompson ran for her high schools – Christiana High School and also Manchester High School when she was in her teenage years. In 2009, she competed with various athletes in the Boys and Girls Championships in Jamaica and placed fourth in the women’s 100m. That did not deter her, as she continued pressing on and in 2013, having been a student of the University of Technology, Jamaica and been recruited and coached under the tutelage by renowned coach Stephen Francis, she decided to enter track and field once more. She ran a personal best of 11.41 in the Gibson Relays that same year, and went on to the Jamaican Intercollegiate Championships where she placed second. She also entered the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Morelia where she copped a gold medal in the women’s 4 x 100m relay. In 2014 she won her first intercollegiate title, then placed fifth at the national championships with a season best of 11.17.
In 2015, she became the Jamaican intercollegiate champion once again then continued to break the UTECH Classic record in 10.92. She also ran at the Jamaica International Invitational, thus becoming one of the world’s leading sprinters, having surpassed Okagbare and Felix on the track. In the same year she competed in the women’s 200m Jamaica National Championships and qualified for the World Championships. At the London grand prix Thompson defeated America’s Bowie and McGrone and won the non-Diamond League 200m race. The 2015 staging of the World Championships in Beijing sized her against Daphne Schippers, but she won silver with a time of 21.66, 0.03 slower than Schippers.
“I go through the rounds, I didn’t know I could run so fast so I’m really excited.” – Elaine Thompson.
In 2016, since she won two Diamond League races, her foreseen potential signed her to the American sportswear giant Nike. The Olympic champion then went to Zurich, Switzerland and won another IAAF Diamond League women’s 200m title with a record of 21.85.
“I am grateful. I came out as a winner and I am happy. This is a blast. I came out o execute well… This is my first time in Zurich, it was a long season; my last stop will be in Brussels. I have not been home since Rio and I am longing to get home to Jamaica.” – Elaine Thompson
While she was making her strides as an athlete, her grand stage appearance for the world was the 2016 Olympic Games, as some would admit. Now that the world knows her name and what she is now capable of having performed extraordinarily in her races, she now has her ‘work cut out for her’ in terms of having to maintain her title as upcoming superstar. Having been a successor of greats like Veronica Campbell-Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, to name a few Jamaicans who have figuratively passed the baton, it is without a doubt that Elaine Thompson will continue to make Jamaica one proud nation.
During her training and preparation for the next Olympics which will be staged in Tokyo, it is the firm belief of many that she will compete in various track and field events which will provide more opportunities for Elaine to build upon her already impressive accolades.
Look out Olympics 2020; you are in for another set of surprises.
By Alexandra Daley