Elaine Thompson-Herah: Olympic champion gets Instagram ban for clip of winning run

Elaine Thompson-Herah celebrates winning gold at Tokyo 2020

100m and 200m gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah has revealed she’s been banned from Instagram for posting footage of her respective victories at Tokyo 2020 this year.

The Jamaican sprinter defended both her Olympic titles from Rio in 2016, meaning she has now won four golds in total.

Her times in both events at Tokyo have also been personal bests. In the 100m, the 29-year-old ran a 10.61, setting a new Olympic record and consolidating herself as the fastest woman alive. It also made Thompson-Herah the second quickest woman in history.

Similarly, the Jamaican also ranks as the second quickest woman in the 200m, achieving a time of 21.53 seconds in the final of this year’s competition.

But despite providing some of the most thrilling moments of the Games so far, not even Thompson-Herah can outrun the broadcast rights holders for the Olympics.

The sprinter posted footage of her race wins on her personal Instagram account but subsequently had her account blocked for copyright infringement. Despite being the central figure in the videos themselves, the International Olympics Committee deemed this was still a breach of their guidelines.


In a statement on Twitter, the Jamaican wrote: “I was blocked on Instagram for posting the races of the Olympics (sic) because I did not own the right to do so. So see y’all in 2 days.”

Many fans have suggested this looks bad on the IOC, who will receive more than $4 billion in broadcasting rights for the period, including the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and the Tokyo Games.

Elaine Thompson-Herah at Tokyo 2020

Tariq Panja, a reporter for the New York Times, said: “Not even [the] fastest woman in the world is free from the IOC’s content blockers. How in the world is this a good look for the IOC? It’s performances by athletes like Thompson-Herah that allow the IOC to strike it rich.”

Panja also wondered whether fan videos would have been forbidden. He stressed that sometimes footage of the Games from eyewitnesses can actually be beneficial for the IOC, especially if taken from angles that complement TV coverage.

“If fans were at the Olympics would their videos have been stripped away too? Suspect some might have been and IOC itself would have lost valuable footage that taken together form a tapestry of each Games. Eyewitnesses often capture images that compliment TV.”

While Thompson-Herah won’t be posting on Instagram for a few days, she is not yet finished at this year’s Games.

The Jamaican is due to compete in the women’s 4x100m relay on Thursday and then again on Friday if the side qualifies for the final.

Having won silver in this event at Rio in 2016, a win in Tokyo would round-off the perfect Olympics and put Thompson-Herah in the same category as fellow all-time great and compatriot Usain Bolt.

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