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Elaine Thompson-Herah
Elaine Thompson Herah at the 2019 Pan American Games.jpg
Thompson-Herah at the 2019 Pan American Games
Personal information
Born June 28, 1992 (1992-06-28) (age 29)
Manchester, Jamaica
Height 1.67 m (5 ft 5+12 in)
Weight 57 kg (126 lb)
Sport
Sport Track and Field
Event(s) 60m, 100m, 200m
College team UTech
Club MVP Track Club
Coached by Stephen Francis
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)
  • 60m: 6.98 (2017)
  • 100m: 10.61 OR NR (2021)
  • 200m: 21.53 NR (2021)

Elaine Thompson-Herah (née Thompson; born 28 June 1992) is a Jamaican sprinter who specialises in the 100 metres and 200 metres. She is a five-time Olympic champion, having won gold in both the 100 and 200 metres at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and again at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

In 2021, she set an Olympic and Jamaican national record of 10.61 seconds in the 100 metres at the 2020 Summer Olympics, making her the fastest woman alive and the second-fastest woman in history. She holds the record for the second-fastest 200 metres with a time of 21.53 seconds which she set at the Tokyo Olympics final.

Thompson-Herah began competing internationally in 2013. In 2015 she achieved her first finish under 11 seconds in the 100 metres, and she ran 21.66 seconds in the 200 metres. She was the 2019 Pan American Games champion and a two-time Diamond League winner.

Early life

Thompson is a native of Banana Ground in Manchester Parish, Jamaica. Running for Christiana High School and later Manchester High School, Thompson was a good but not outstanding scholastic sprinter; her best result at the Jamaican ISSA Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships came in 2009, when she placed fourth in the Class Two 100 metres in 12.01 seconds. In 2011, her final year at Manchester High, she was left off the track team for disciplinary reasons.

Athletics career

After high school, she was recruited to the University of Technology, Jamaica by Paul Francis, brother of MVP Track Club head coach Stephen Francis. With MVP coaching, Thompson's times started improving steadily.

In 2013, she clocked a seasonal best of 11.41s at the Gibson Replays and placed second behind Carrie Russell at the Jamaican Intercollegiate Championships. At the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Morelia, she won gold in the 4 × 100 metres relay, running the first leg on the Jamaican team as it won in 43.58s.

In 2014, Thompson won her first intercollegiate title, placed fifth in 11.26s at the national championships, and had a seasonal best of 11.17s. She represented Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, running in the 4 × 100 metres relay heats; Jamaica won their heat in 42.44s, and went on to win gold in the final with Thompson-Herah not in the line-up.

2015

Thompson made her international breakthrough in 2015. She repeated as Jamaican intercollegiate champion in March and broke 11 seconds for the first time at the UTech Classic on 11 April, running a world-leading 10.92 seconds. She then ran 10.97 seconds at the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston, defeating a field that included Blessing Okagbare and Allyson Felix. At the Pre Classic in Eugene, Thompson was narrowly beaten by English Gardner in the B-race as both were timed in 10.84 seconds; as of 27 July 2015, this was Thompson's personal best in the 100m and ranked her 30th on the world all-time list.

Thompson-Herah was expected to run the 100 metres at the Jamaican National Championships, which doubled as trials for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing; however, her coach Stephen Francis pulled her from that event and instead had her concentrate on the 200 metres, in which she had set a personal best of 22.37s in May. The move generated controversy in Jamaica; Francis stated that Thompson-Herah was not ready to double and that she had been prepared for the 200m in which her main weakness, the start, would not play as large a role. Thompson won the national 200m title in 22.51s, qualifying for the World Championships.

At the London Grand Prix on 25 July, Thompson-Herah won a non-scoring Diamond League 200m race in 22.10s, defeating Americans Tori Bowie and Candyce McGrone; the time was her new personal best and broke Merlene Ottey's meeting record from 1991.

At the Beijing World Championships, Thompson-Herah won a silver medal, behind Dafne Schippers of Netherlands. Thompson's time of 21.66s was faster than the previous championships record but 0.03s slower than Schippers. Fellow Jamaican Veronica Campbell Brown was third in 21.97s.

ElaineThompson200mRio2016
Thompson-Herah at the 2016 Rio Olympics

2016

On 1 July, Thompson-Herah set a personal best in the 100m with a time of 10.70s, winning the event at the Jamaican Championships. She did not advance to the semi-finals in the 200m running only a 23.34s.

In the 100m final of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Thompson-Herah won the gold medal with a time of 10.71s, ahead of Tori Bowie (10.83s), and the 2012 London Olympics winner and countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.86s).

In the 200m final, she won her second gold, clocking 21.78s; Dafne Schippers placed second in 21.88s and Tori Bowie third in 22.15s.

She was the first female Jamaican sprinter to win the 100m and 200m at one Olympic Games and the seventh overall. She also ran in the national 4 × 100 m relay team which placed second, thus leaving Rio de Janeiro with three medals.

2017–2019

In 2017, Thompson-Herah was in the team which won a gold medal in the 4 × 200 metres relay at the World Relays, setting competition and national record with a time of 1:29.04.

She competed in the 100m at the 2017 London World Championships, placing 5th with at time of 10.98s.

At the 2019 World Championships in Doha, she finished 4th in the 100m running 10.93s. Thompson-Herah achieved a time of 22.61s in the 200m heats, qualifying for the semi-finals, but she did not start due to an Achilles tendon injury.

2020–present

In 2020, Thompson-Herah ran seven 100m races and achieved times of under 11 seconds in five of them, with a season-best of 10.85s (10.73s with illegal wind). She won two Diamond League meets which were staged as one-off events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 200m, her season-best was 22.19s.

In June 2021, at the Jamaican Championships, she placed third in her two signature events with times of 10.84s and 22.02s respectively, qualifying in both events for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics. On 6 July, she achieved a time of 10.71s in the 100m, her fastest time since 2017, and 0.01 seconds off her personal best. She defeated Fraser-Pryce and won the World Athletics Continental Tour's Székesfehérvár Memorial in Hungary, setting a meet record.

At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Thompson-Herah placed first in the women's 100 metres final, winning the gold medal as fellow Jamaican athletes Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson received the silver and bronze medals, respectively. She achieved the second-equal fastest time in history, with an Olympic record of 10.61 seconds, breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner's Olympic record of 10.62 seconds set in 1988. She is currently the fastest woman alive.

Competing in the 200 metres, she first equalled her personal best of 21.66s in the semi-finals. In the final, she won the gold medal with a personal best time of 21.53.

Personal life

Thompson is married to former athlete and coach Derron Herah.

Achievements

Information from World Athletics profile unless otherwise noted.

Personal bests

Event Time (s) Wind Venue Date Notes
60 metres outdoor 7.02 +1.7 m/s Kingston, Jamaica 28 January 2017
100 metres 10.61 -0.6 m/s Tokyo, Japan 31 July 2021 WL OR NR 2nd all-time
200 metres 21.53 +0.8 m/s Tokyo, Japan 3 August 2021 WL NR 2nd all-time
4 × 100 metres relay 41.02 Tokyo, Japan 6 August 2021 NR 2nd all-time
4 × 200 metres relay 89.04 Nassau, Bahamas 22 April 2017 NR
60 metres indoor 6.98 Birmingham, United Kingdom 18 February 2017 WL

Progression

As of July 2021, Thompson-Herah has achieved 43 finishes under 11 seconds in the 100 metres.

International competitions

Serie4Course200mRio2016 003 (cropped)
Thompson (center) at the 2016 Rio Olympics
Representing  Jamaica
Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
2013 2013 CAC Championships Morelia, Mexico 1st 4 × 100 m 43.58
2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, United Kingdom 1st 4 × 100 m 42.44 GR
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 2nd 200m 21.66 (+0.2 m/s) PB
1st 4 × 100 m 41.07 WL CR NR
2016 World Indoor Championships Portland, United States 3rd 60m 7.06
Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1st 100m 10.71 (+0.5 m/s)
1st 200m 21.78 (+0.5 m/s) WL
2nd 4 × 100 m 41.36 SB
2017 World Relays Nassau, Bahamas 1st 4 × 200 m 1:29.04 CR NR
World Championships London, United Kingdom 5th 100m 10.98 (+0.1 m/s)
2018 World Indoor Championships Birmingham, United Kingdom 4th 60m 7.08
Commonwealth Games Gold Coast, Australia 4th 200m 22.30 (+0.9 m/s) SB
2nd 4 × 100 m 42.52
2019 World Relays Yokohama, Japan 3rd 4 × 200 m 1:33.21
Pan American Games Lima, Peru 1st 100m 11.18 (-0.6 m/s)
World Championships Doha, Qatar 4th 100m 10.93 (+0.1 m/s)
7th (heats) 200m 22.61 (+0.7 m/s) Q
2021 Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan 1st 100m 10.61 (-0.6 m/s) WL OR NR
1st 200m 21.53 (+0.8 m/s) WL NR
1st 4 × 100 m 41.02 NR

Circuit wins and titles

  • Diamond League winner (100m): 2016
  • Diamond League champion (100m): 2017
    • 2015 (2): London (200m), Zürich (4 × 100 m relay)
    • 2016 (6): Rabat (100m), Rome (100m), Lausanne (100m), Zürich (200m & 4 × 100 m relay), Brussels (100m)
    • 2017 (8): Doha (200m), Shanghai (100m), Paris (100m), London (100m), Rabat (100m), Birmingham (100m), Zürich (4 × 100 m relay), Brussels (100m)
    • 2019 (4): Rome (100m), London (200m & 4 × 100 m relay), Paris (100m)
    • 2020 (2): Rome (100m), Doha (100m)
    • 2021 (1): London Grand Prix in Gateshead (200m)
  • World Indoor Tour
    • 2017 (1) (60m): Birmingham
    • 2019 (1) (60m): Birmingham
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