Elaine Thompson-Herah made quite a breakthrough at Rio 2016. After ensuring that the Olympic women’s 100m title remained in Jamaican hands by succeeding compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as sprint queen, the then 24-year-old then won the 200m. In the process, she became the first woman to complete the Olympic sprint double since the late Florence Griffith-Joyner at Seoul 1988. Remarkably, those two stellar wins were the new Jamaican star’s first in a major international competition. But her record-breaking feats were far from over. After an injury-plagued 2017-2019, Thompson-Herah retained her 100m title in a new Olympic record of 10.61 at Tokyo 2020, before defending her 200m title in a new personal best of 21.53 and helping her nation's 4x100m relay team secure gold.
Hailing from Banana Ground in Manchester Parish, one of the more deprived parts of Jamaica, Elaine Thompson-Herah came under the care of her grandmother Gloria when she was only seven months old. Though her family have always said that she was “born to run”, Thompson-Herah was far from being the most outstanding sprinter at her school and only placed fourth in the 100m at the Jamaican Boys and Girls Championships in 2009. Two years later she was dropped from her school’s track and field team altogether. She was then spotted by athletics coach Stephen Francis, the founder of the MVP Track Club and the man behind Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce’s successful career. Obtaining a scholarship to the University of Technology in Kingston, Thompson-Herah started to become the sprinter her family always believed she could be.
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