The women’s 100m final at the XXX1 Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was truly one for the ages. It featured seven finalists who were running in an Olympic final for the first time in their careers. Four of them were from the Caribbean – three from Jamaica and one from Trinidad & Tobago.
The semi-finals were very fast with the second non-automatic qualifying time being 10.96 seconds which would have been good enough for the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic final.
With all of the finalists’ sub-11 second sprinters, they provided good company for the only sprinter who had been to an Olympic 100m final not once but on two occasions – Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Fraser-Pryce had cranked it up another notch and showed her class in her semi-final winning in 10.88 seconds improving by 0.08 seconds her season’s best achieved earlier in the heats. Her victory was more impressive because of the way she turned back red-hot flying Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers who ran hard for second in 10.90 seconds.
However, it was her teammate and world 200m silver medallist Elaine Thompson who set tongues wagging after her stunning and effortless 10.88 seconds victory in the 3rd and final semi-final. American Tori Bowie 10.90 won the first semi-final to set up an explosive final.
A new Olympic champion was crowned on Saturday night; however, the colour of the flag remained the same as Elaine Thompson running her first 100m final at a major championship crowned herself in glory. Thompson (24) the world leader and heir apparent to Fraser-Pryce won in 10.71 (+0.5 m/s) just 0.01 shy off her personal best.
The new Olympic champion got a brilliant start and her execution and poise throughout the final was exceptional as she took command by the halfway stage.
Thompson had her teammate and defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce for company for the first 50m before separating herself from the rest of the field to become only the second woman from Jamaica to win the 100m title.
Behind her was a fiercely contested battle for the next two available spots. American Tori Bowie and Fraser-Pryce locked horns at the 80m mark however the American edged forward in the final strides to grab the silver medal in 10.83 seconds.
The courageous Fraser-Pryce who battled a toe injury all season grabbed the bronze medal ahead of rising Ivorian sprinter Marie-Josee TA Lou who was accredited with the same time of 10.86 seconds. It was a satisfactory result for Fraser-Pryce who lowered her season’s best in every round despite the prevailing challenges she faced coming into the games.
Dafne Schippers one of the medal favourites was back in fifth in 10.90 seconds the same time she ran in the semi-finals, while American Olympic trials champion English Gardner was seventh in 10.94 seconds. The third Jamaican in the final Christania Williams was eight in 11.80 seconds.