The two Jamaican sprinters Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, three Olympic titles over 100 m between them, who pushed themselves to progress, are again the big favorites for the straight line at the Tokyo Olympics.
Quiz: who is the last non-Jamaican Olympic 100m champion?
Answer: Belarusian Yuliya Nesterenko, crowned in Athens in 2004. A real glue both Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce (34) and Elaine Thompson-Herah (29), who played in the playoffs on Friday, have erased the competition for thirteen years .
Fraser-Pryce in 2008 and 2012 then Thompson-Herah in 2016 confiscated the supreme title in favor of the big Caribbean island, and even of the MVP (Maximizing Velocity and Power, "Maximize Speed and Power") Track Club of Kingston, where they rubbed shoulders for several years, progressing side by side.
"The one who motivates her the most is Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, she talks about it constantly," said a few years ago the grandmother of Thompson-Herah, almost six years younger than her compatriot than she sees it as "a mentor and friend".
“When I got to the MVP I saw so many stars there. They were racing in the Diamond League, in the big championships, I always wanted to be like them. I worked hard to be like them, they have me inspired, made me stronger. I don't think I was in their shadow though, "says Thompson-Herah.
- "Pursue their dreams" -
A few years later, the two rockets are once again the big favorites for the title on Saturday, after having thrown the lap times this summer.
In 10 sec 63 Fraser-Pryce became the second best performer of all time, while Thompson-Herah clocked her second career time (10 sec 71).
American Sha'Carri Richardson, the only one who can challenge their dominance, has been dismissed for testing positive for marijuana.
Previously teammates, the two Jamaicans now belong to different training groups, but will meet in the 4x100m relay in Tokyo (in addition to the 200m).
Thompson-Herah is still the MVP among the stars with Shericka Jackson, 200m favorite Stephenie McPherson (400m) and world length champion Tajay Gayle.
Fraser-Pryce, she left the scene briefly for the first time in 2016, angry with coach Stephen Francis with rough methods, before leaving permanently in 2020.
The Jamaican standard-bearer prepared for the Games in a small group of four lower-level athletes with a renowned youth trainer, Reynaldo Walcott, based at "St Elizabeth Technical High School".
Long remained discreet in the imposing shadow of her compatriot Usain Bolt, Fraser-Pryce has asserted herself for several years, in the footsteps of the American Allyson Felix.
Like Felix, she returned to the highest level after becoming a mom in 2017 and sees herself as an example for athletes looking to start a family during their career.
Ambassador of Unicef, she campaigns for better conditions for childbirth in Jamaica, or for better information on breastfeeding.
“When I hang up my spikes, I want to make sure I have inspired other women and girls to chase their dreams,” she wrote on Twitter ahead of the Games.
She has another opportunity to do so on the top step of the podium, surely not far from Elaine Thompson-Herah.
© 2021 AFP