TOKYO (AP) — It was billed as a star-studded race that anyone could win.
As long as that person’s name was Elaine.
The latest in the long list of Jamaican speed stars, Elaine Thompson-Herah blew away a much-decorated field in the 200 meters Tuesday night. She completed her second straight Olympic sprint sweep in 21.53 seconds, the second-fastest time in history.
It marked the second time in four nights that Thompson-Herah has won a sprint and recorded a time that fell short of only Florence Griffith Joyner’s hallowed, 33-year-old world records. The 200 record is 21.34.
Four nights ago in the 100 meters, Thompson-Herah started pointing at the clock a few steps before the finish line and finished in 10.61, which was good for the Olympic record but not Flo Jo’s overall mark of 10.49.
In the 200, she ran hard all the way through and stuck her tongue out as she pushed her chest forward at the line. No question here about what would’ve happened if she’d left it all on the track.
Both finishes, of course, equaled gold medals, and now Thompson-Herah will have at least four when she gets back to Jamaica. There’s a chance for a fifth when she competes in the women’s 4×100-meters this weekend.
She topped surprise second-place finisher Christine Mboma of Namibia by .48, while American Gabby Thomas took bronze.
This was a star-studded final, defined as much by who didn’t finish on the podium as who did.
Thompson’s Jamaican teammate, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, finished fourth and Shaune Miller-Uibo, who focused on the 200 instead of defending her title in the 400, came in last.
Miller-Uibo is still in the mix for the 400, after finishing first in a preliminary heat earlier Tuesday.
Thompson-Herah joins another Jamaican, Veronica Campbell-Brown, and Barbel Wockel of the former East Germany as the third back-to-back champion in the 200.