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Elaine Thompson-Herah Is Crowned The Fastest Woman In The World At The Tokyo Games

Elaine Thompson-Herah of Team Jamaica crosses the finish line to win the gold medal in the women's 100m final at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Michael Steele
Getty Images
Elaine Thompson-Herah of Team Jamaica crosses the finish line to win the gold medal in the women's 100m final at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica is officially the fastest woman in the world — again — after winning the 100 meters at the Tokyo Games in Olympic record time. She was the defending gold medalist in this event.

"I knew I had it in me, but obviously, I've had my ups and downs with injuries," she said Saturday, referring to a persistent ailment in 2018 and 2019. "I've been keeping faith all this time. It is amazing."

It was a sweep for Jamaica, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce taking silver and Shericka Jackson taking bronze.

Fraser-Pryce, who won the event at the Olympics in Beijing and London, came into the event trying to become the first woman to win three gold medals at this distance.

The 34-year-old clocked the fastest time in the heats to qualify for the final, with a time quicker than her gold medal races.

But Thompson-Herah took control of the final race right off the blocks and straight through the finish line. At the end, she screamed in joy and jumped up and down before collapsing on the track.

"I couldn't find the words. I screamed so loud because I was so happy," she said.

About a minute after the race finished, the other Jamaican medalists came over and gave her a quick pat on the back.

Besides Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce, just two other women have won two golds in this event — Wyomia Tyus, who competed for the U.S. in the 1960s, and Gail Devers, a U.S. athlete who won her golds in the 1990s.

U.S. runner Teahna Daniels, 24, ran a personal best time to make it into the race. She placed seventh.

There was one person notably missing from the 100 meter.

The U.S. athlete who had the fastest time at U.S. Olympic Trials isn't competing at the Games. Rising star Sha'Carri Richardson tested positive for THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, and faced a 30-day suspension that dashed her hopes of running this race.

Richardson's suspension was controversial because marijuana is legal in many states, including the one where she used it, but it is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
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