Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah wins 200m gold to complete second straight Olympic sweep

·Yahoo Sports Columnist
·3-min read

TOKYO — Elaine Thompson-Herah won the gold medal in the women's 200-meter race in 21.53 seconds on Tuesday in Tokyo, the second-fastest time in history behind only Florence Griffith-Joyner's 21.34. 

The 29-year-old Jamaican completes a sweep of the 100 and 200 for the second straight Olympics, the first woman to ever do it twice. 

Namibia's Christine Mboma took the silver medal in 21.81, while the United States' Gabby Thomas earned bronze at 21.87.

Thomas edged out Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the line to medal.

"I really fought tooth and nail those last 30 meters, so I did my best. I gave it my best effort, and I'm really, really happy that effort came with the medal," Thomas said. "Those last 30 meters was focusing on the composure. The last thing my coach told me was to stay relaxed throughout the entire race, and I think that's what got me the medal, is that mental focus and being composed."

Raised in Massachusetts, Thomas was good at her prep school but really blossomed at Harvard. She was a finalist in the 200 at the 2016 U.S. Trials and finished fifth after just her first year in college.

At this year's Trials, however, she became an instant darling, setting a new lifetime best in each of the three rounds, including 21.61 seconds in the final, at the time the second-fastest women's 200m in history.

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Her success on Tuesday night just gives her more confidence.

"I think just being lined up with girls of this caliber in itself put me in that mindset, that I'm going for something even greater than I imagined," Thomas said. "And now coming here and getting a bronze, just knowing that I belong here, but I also want more for myself and I want to come with the gold at some point."

Though her preferred race is the 400m, 18-year-old silver medalist Mboma dropped down to the 200m after a somewhat arbitrary World Athletics rule meant that she was banned from the 400m because her naturally occurring elevated testosterone level means she's in the category of DSD, or athletes with "differences of sexual development." 

The Caster Semenya rule, as its known, was put in place as punishment for Semenya, the two-time defending 800m gold medalist who is also DSD but of course has meant other women are subjected to its cruelty. World Athletics stated last year that women who are DSD must either take hormone treatment to suppress their testosterone or they cannot run in any race from 400 meters to the mile. Semenya tried to qualify for these Games in the 5000m but fell short.

Mboma and her countrywoman, Beatrice Masilingi, chose to drop down to the 200, and both reached the final.

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