TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) – Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah blazed to 100 metres gold on Saturday, becoming the fastest woman alive as she denied compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce a third Olympic title.
In retaining her title Thompson-Herah added a sparkling flourish to a day which had seen U.S. gymnast Simone Biles withdraw from two more finals in Tokyo, and a listless Novak Djokovic fail to take bronze in tennis after his dream of a “Golden Slam” was dashed.
Thompson-Herah led a Jamaican 100m podium sweep with Shericka Jackson in third. The champion’s blistering 10.61 seconds time has only ever been bettered by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, who set a world record of 10.49 in 1988.
“I put everything in there I gave it 100 and I would say that I’m ready, super ready, but I had to just hold my composure to come out here take it runs by runs,” she said.
“It shows tonight that Elaine is back. She wasn’t gone anywhere.”
The day had begun with local fans defying a ban on spectators to get a glimpse of the triathlon. Big crowds lined the streets at the Odaiba Marine Park on the Tokyo waterfront, defying Olympic staff who carried signs and bullhorns asking them not to gather along the roadside to watch the event.
The setbacks for stars such as Biles and Djokovic have been in a way fitting for the improbable Games, taking place without spectators amid a widening pandemic. Minutes after his singles defeat, Djokovic withdrew from the mixed doubles bronze match.
New COVID-19 infections hit 4,058 in Tokyo, a new record and the first time above 4,000. The government has extended a state of emergency in the capital and expanded it to neighbouring prefectures.