Elaine Thompson-Herah did not think she would win the Olympic 100-metre title four years ago.
The double Olympic champion, who is among the fastest women to have ever competed in the sprint events, said going into the 100m final of the Rio Olympics, she was focused but winning was not her aim.
“I did not think that I would actually win the race”, she recalls on the Drive Phase podcast with Dalton Myers last week.
“If I got a medal, fine, but I didn’t know I would get the gold.”– Elaine Thompson-Herah
“I remember when I ran the first round, I think I ran 11.3, and I called my husband and said, ‘I think I ran slow,’ and he said, ‘No, you are fine. It’s the first round. Once you feel fine and once there is no pain, you will be fine.’”
Following her semi-final, which saw her run 10.88 seconds, she thought “OK, it’s coming together.”
Despite having the world’s fastest time at 10.70 seconds from the Jamaican National Trials, her hope for the event was to medal, regardless of colour. “I did not think that I would actually win the race,” she admitted. “If I got a medal, fine, but I didn’t know I would get the gold. And after [I won it] I think all the butterflies calmed down and I said, ‘Okay, it’s 200m time.’”
She would not only get her wish of a medal, but take the title in 10.71 seconds, ahead of American Torie Bowie (10.83) and two-time Olympic 100m champion and countrywoman, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.86).
Since then Thompson-Herah has finished fourth and fifth in the event at the World Championships and battled an Achilles injury which has affected her over the past two years.
However, she seems to be back to fighting form, running 10.88 seconds in the 100 and 22.19 seconds over 200m this season.
“I just want to bring this into next season and continue to know how to work around the Achilles. It takes a lot because I have been doing so much strength work on it.”