Up to recently, few persons would have harboured thoughts of seeing Florence Griffith Joyner’s (Flo-Jo) 10.49 world record wiped off the books.
However, since Elaine Thompson-Herah’s blistering 10.61 to win the Tokyo 2020 women’s 100m final, followed by a stunning 10.54 at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday, 21 August 2021, the impossible looks possible.
Even Thompson-Herah herself, when asked if she can erase the mark, replied: “Yes, I ran 10.61 and 10.54, which means I am closer, of course, but there is some more work to do so, it’s a target, of course.”
In 2015, Jeter, who was then the fastest woman alive, said: “I think that record will someday be broken.”
Flo-Jo’s 10.49 in the 100m quarterfinals at the US Olympic Trials in 1988 remains questionable. In 1995, the late Australian biomechanist, Nicholas Linthorne, wrote a report at the request of World Athletics, which stated: “The wind reading should have been measured between +5m/s and +7m/s during quarterfinal one (1) which was won in 10.49 seconds by Flo-Jo.
There were three quarterfinals that day, with the first two wind readings showing 0.0 m/s, while the third showed +5.0 m/s.
So strong was the wind that day, the triple jump competition, which was parallel to the 100m straight, gave rise to enormous measurements, in particular for an obviously unapproved world record from Willie Banks at 18.20 (+ 5.2 m/s).
Despite the controversies, Thompson-Herah aims to run faster than 10.49 seconds. “I think the records are in reach, because I ran 10.5, and I have so much more in me. I don’t want to get carried away – the celebrations will start in October and November, but for now, I have a mission to complete!”
Flo-Jo also holds the women’s 200m record of 21.34 seconds set at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in South Korea.
Thompson-Herah, on her Prefontaine Classic perpormance, said she wasn’t expecting to run that fast in Eugene. “I didn’t know I would have come out here and got another PB. I am excited and grateful at the same time.”
She said the competitors push her to the line, “They helped me … for me to go out there and run a world lead and a PB, thank you ladies, for helping me do that.”