Rising Jamaican sprint star Elaine Thompson proved her mettle on the world stage on Saturday when she crossed the line a stride ahead of her nearest rivals including reigning Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to snag the gold in Rio on Saturday.
Thompson had lingered in the shadow of two-time gold medalist Fraser-Pryce but proved in the final of the 100 metres that she had the power needed to win at the top level.
“I know I’m not the quickest out of the blocks, so holding that drive phase longer gives me that power that I need to have an advantage,” Thompson, 24, told reporters after clocking a 10.71 second sprint, a mere 0.01 seconds off her career personal best.
The result came a year after Thompson took second in the 200m at the world championships in Beijing, as well as winning gold in the 4x100m on a team led by Fraser-Pryce and veteran Veronica Campbell-Brown, who Thompson edged in the 200m at the country’s national championships in June.
“Jamaica has so many talented sprinters,” Thompson said. “As long as it remains with Jamaica, I’m happy.”
Thompson emphasised that she was not yet ready to celebrate, as she’s also due to race the 200m and 4x100m next week — the same suite that countryman Usain Bolt will take on in his bid for a historic “triple-triple” of gold medals in all three events for three consecutive Olympics.
The last woman to win gold in all three events was Florence Griffith-Joyner at the Seoul Games in 1988.
“I will celebrate after the 200 and 4x100m, and I will celebrate that one time,” Thompson said.
The 29-year-old Fraser-Pryce, who claimed bronze, said she welcomed her team mate’s rise.
“I am really happy for her. I’ve seen her work hard and it was her time,” Fraser-Pryce said. “In 2008 it was my time, 2016 it is her time. I am happy that Jamaica gets to keep the gold medal.”