Elaine Thompson after the 200m final at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (© AFP / Getty Images)
Elaine Thompson blitzed to the 100m/200m sprint double at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Here the Jamaican reflects on the significance of taking 200m silver at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.
“Winning my first championship medal in Beijing (at the 2015 World Championships) was a big moment for me because up until that point I didn’t know how talented I was or how fast I could run. In the Bird’s Nest Stadium, I ran 21.66 which was a huge jump on my previous PB (of 22.10). For me to finish on the podium was a very inspiring moment.
“Leading into the World Championships, I remember running a huge PB of 22.10 to win at the London Diamond League. This performance surprised me because I was fully loaded in training at the time, so I didn’t expect to run that quickly.
“As soon as I arrived in Beijing, I was excited. I didn’t have any big expectations, I just wanted to experience a major championship and have fun. Ever since I was young, I’d had a big passion for track and field. I remember setting the alarm to watch the track and field events in the middle of the night in Jamaica for the Beijing Olympics.
“So, before my event in Beijing, I recall spending a lot of time watching my teammates compete at the World Championships on TV. I felt really nervous for them, but their performances motivated me and gave me the drive to run well.
“I remember my heat was comfortable enough (Thompson won in 22.78) and after my semifinal (which she won in 22.13) I thought, ‘wow! Is that really me?’ I looked so smooth and my coach (Stephen Francis) said he liked everything about the way I ran.
“My memories of the final were getting to the corner early and leading down the home straight. I remember Dafne Schippers coming up late on my outside and as we crossed the line I didn’t know who had won. The scoreboard soon confirmed Dafne had won in 21.63 but when I saw my time (21.66) I realised I had set a huge PB, so I didn’t have too much to complain about.
“To win a silver medal felt good; it was overwhelming.
“It was important for me because it was my first major championship and my first taste of competing against such a strong field. It was a fun and exciting experience and paved the way for what I went on to achieve at the 2016 Olympic Games.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF