Elaine Thompson-Herah: I really want to break the world record

The five-time Olympic gold medallist hopes to surpass the world record 100m time of 10.49 set by Florence Griffith-Joyner when she competes at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon later this year.  

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Jamaican athletics great Elaine Thompson-Herah is officially targeting the women’s 100m world record.

The double Olympic champion has stated her ambition for the year is to best United States’ Florence Griffith-Joyner's time of 10.49, a record that has stood unbeaten for 34 years.

"My main aim is to target for the World Championship. I really want to break the world record," the 29-year-old told BBC News. "I think once I have that line-up and that good weather it is possible."

The sprint star’s goal came into focus after a stellar 2021 season renewed her belief that re-writing the history books is achievable.

Thompson-Herah broke the American’s Olympic 100m record last summer at Tokyo 2020 en route to her historic ‘double double’ before then going even quicker at the Diamond League meet in Eugene, Oregon weeks later where she posted 10.54, the second-fastest time ever run by a woman and just five-hundredths of a second shy of the world record.

READ: Top 10 women's 100m in history

Though she may have run faster than any woman in more than 30 years, the Jamaican admits that her blistering hot time took even her by surprise:

"When I look at the race I was like, hell no, that probably must be the wrong time on the clock. I did not run 10.5," the 2022 Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award winner continued to BBC.

"It didn’t look that fast to me. I didn’t feel that fast. So, when I saw 10.54, I was like, what? I had a most horrible race in my life. It didn’t feel that fast."

“I think there’s a lot left there to unleash” - Elaine Thompson-Herah to BBC News on breaking the 100m world record.

Elaine Thompson-Herah: setting a date with destiny

Hopes are high that the Jamaican might be able to do what many for so long had deemed impossible given that this year’s World Championships are due to be held at Hayward Field, the very same place Thompson-Herah set her personal best last August.

With conditions playing such a critical role in any world record attempt, the occasion could not be set any better for the Jamaican.

Certainly, for Thompson-Herah, there would be no greater feeling than triumphing over a record that was set before she was even born:

"This year I’ll be 30 years old and to see myself as that 30-year-old sprinter breaking Flo Jo’s record would be something very spectacular," she told BBC News. "That would be written all over in the history books, that cannot be erased. That would be something very important to me.”

As the athletics world waits patiently for the sprint legend’s date with destiny, for now her focus is on building the right campaign to support her bid in July.

Up next for Thompson-Herah is the Puerto Rico Athletics Classic where she will face a field including double 2021 NCAA champion Cambrea Sturgis who recently ran a 10.87 personal best time last month in North Carolina.

MORE: How to watch Elaine Thompson-Herah at Puerto Rico Athletics Classic 2022

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