Elaine Thompson-Herah retained her Olympic 100m gold in Tokyo but has revealed she could’ve gone even faster.
The Jamaican sprinter ran a 10.61 to finish ahead of compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.
Thompson-Herah’s time set a new Olympic record and was her personal best until she ran a 10.54 at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon the following month.
Only Florence Griffith-Joyner has ever run quicker, with her time of 10.49 at the 1988 US Olympic Trials having now stood for 33 years.
But speaking to BBC Sport, the five-time Olympic gold medallist stressed she could’ve challenged this world record in Tokyo.
As she neared the final 10 metres, the Jamaican raised her arms in celebration, which may well have lost her at least a 10th of a second.
“I could have run 10.5 if I was not celebrating,” she said. “I didn’t realise I’d done the pointing. I think my body knew I wanted to win so badly.
If I could run it back over, I would run straight to the line. That is the thing I could fix –– the start was great, the transition was great, just that last 10 metres.
What’s more remarkable about Thompson-Herah’s performance was that she was suffering from an injury in the build-up to the Games.
Two weeks before the Jamaican trials, her Achilles tendon flared up, as it had done frequently over the past five years. In the end, she narrowly qualified for the Olympics after finishing third behind Fraser-Pryce and Jackson.
In a way, her injury came at the right time. The likes of Dina Asher-Smith, who was tipped as one of the favourites for the 100m in Tokyo this year, suffered a hamstring injury just before the Games which forced her to withdraw from both the 100m and 200m.
But even with her niggling injury concerns, Thompson-Herah had the inner belief that she could defend her Olympic title. The Jamaican told BBC she wrote down a series of affirmations after every practice session that helped her keep the faith in herself.
"I will run 10.5. I will run 21.5. I can do it. I am a winner. I am a champion," she wrote.
As she looks back and reflects on a memorable 2021, she has achieved all but one of these goals. And as Thompson-Herah claims, at 29-years-old, she is yet to reach her peak.News Now - Sport News