Elaine Thompson-Herah wins the women's 200m to complete another sprint double at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (© Getty Images)
Jamaica’s defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah added another stunning performance to a day which will live long in the memory, becoming the first woman to ever complete a golden 100m and 200m ‘double double’ at the Olympic Games.
Just three days after her successful 100m title defence, which was achieved with an Olympic record-breaking run of 10.61, the 29-year-old stormed to a second successive 200m title in 21.53 (0.8m/s) and is now the second-fastest woman in history over both distances.
Her 200m time improves the Jamaican record of 21.64 which had been set by Merlene Ottey in 1991 and only the USA’s world record-holder Florence Griffith-Joyner has ever gone quicker with her world and Olympic record of 21.34 set at the 1988 Games in Seoul.
In an incredible sprinting showpiece, 29-year-old Thompson-Herah powered away in the closing stages to get her fourth Olympic gold as Namibian teenager Christine Mboma came through to secure silver, improving the world U20 and African senior records with 21.81. Gabby Thomas, who had run 21.61 to win the US title, held on for bronze ahead of Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, with their respective times of 21.87 and 21.94 being the fastest ever for third and fourth place in any women’s 200m race.
"I really had to pull it out to win the 200m,” said Thompson-Herah, who has endured a series of injury struggles since achieving her first Olympic sprint double in Rio five years ago. “It's a new PB and a national record. I am so, so happy.
"The ups and downs have been so many and to come here five years later and to win two events is just amazing.
"Honestly, I am so tired,” she added, after her sixth race in five days. “My legs just need some rest. I have had a rough week. I haven't slept after the 100m final.”
The sprint stars's start in the final had been good, but not extraordinary, but she soon got into her running and the 2015 world 200m silver medallist was level with two-time Olympic 100m gold medallist Fraser-Pryce and Thomas off the bend.
But from there, the defending champion began to edge ahead and it soon seemed certain that the win would be hers. Behind her, the fast-finishing Mboma moved from sixth off the bend to second, passing Fraser-Pryce and Thomas to her left to become the second Namibian athlete after Frankie Fredericks (100m and 200m silver at both the 1992 and 1996 Games) to ever claim a medal at the Olympics.
“This is my first Olympics,” said Mboma. “I came here for experience, but I did better (than I expected). I am really happy with my performance. I am proud of myself.
"In the past, every time I ran against the best athletes, I felt nervous. But I don't feel nervous now.”
Thompson-Herah had given a hint of things to come in the semifinals, when she equalled her PB of 21.66 despite easing down as she approached the finish line.
Mboma had also stepped up on the major stage, and after taking to the Tokyo start line with a best of 22.67, she improved to 22.11 in the heats and then 21.97 in the semifinals. She was joined in the final by her training partner and compatriot Beatrice Masilingi, who ran a PB of 22.28 to finish sixth, one place and 0.01 behind Ivory Coast’s multiple world medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou. Switzerland’s world bronze medallist Mujinga Kambundji was seventh (22.30) ahead of Bahamian 2016 Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who ran 24.00 having earlier raced in the heats for the one-lap event.
After claiming 100m bronze behind her Jamaican teammates Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce, 2016 Olympic 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson was unable to progress from the 200m heats to join them in the final. Britain's reigning world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith was also missing, her Olympic ambition ended by an injury sustained in the lead-up to the Games. For Fraser-Pryce, Tokyo marked a return to global championships 200m action for the first time since 2013 when she won one of the nine world titles she now has to her name.
Jess Whittington for World Athletics
|WOMEN'S 200m MEDALLISTS|
|🥇||Elaine Thompson-Herah 🇯🇲 JAM||21.53 NR|
|🥈||Christine Mboma 🇳🇦 NAM||21.81 WU20R|
|🥉||Gabby Thomas 🇺🇸 USA||21.87|