Elaine Thompson-Herah beats Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce; Olympic sprint picture jumbles
Elaine Thompson-Herah upset Tokyo favorite Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in a meeting of the last two women to win the Olympic 100m at the Gyulai István Memorial in Hungary on Tuesday.
It was the highlight race of a meet that clouded the Olympic medal forecast in most of the flat sprints.
Thompson-Herah clocked 10.71 seconds, .01 off her personal best. Fraser-Pryce was second in 10.82, one month after running 10.63 to become the second-fastest woman in history.
The Olympic favorites are Thompson-Herah, Fraser-Pryce and Brit Dina Asher Smith (not in Tuesday’s race), following American Sha’Carri Richardson‘s suspension. Richardson clocked 10.72 in April.
The track and field season continues with a Diamond League meet in Monaco on Friday, live on NBCSN at 2 p.m. ET.
Also Tuesday, world champion Steven Gardiner beat American Michael Norman in a battle of the two fastest 400m sprinters in this Olympic cycle. Gardiner, who in a May race fell to the track and was carried into the infield, won in 44.47 seconds. Norman, who won the Olympic Trials in 44.07, was third in 44.65 behind Bryce Deadmon.
South African Wayde van Niekerk, the Rio gold medalist and world-record holder, was a late scratch. Van Niekerk, coming back from tearing an ACL and meniscus in his right leg playing celebrity tag rugby in 2017, tweeted that he had lower back discomfort in his warm-up.
South African Akani Simbine won the men’s 100m in an African record 9.84 seconds to become second-fastest in the world this year. Only U.S. Olympic Trials champion Trayvon Bromell has gone faster in 2021 (9.77). Bromell was not in the field in Hungary.
Going into Tuesday, the seven fastest men in the world this year were Americans. Now, Simbine, fifth in Rio, has eyes on becoming the first person from an African nation to win an Olympic 100m medal since Namibian Frankie Fredericks’ back-to-back silvers in 1992 and 1996.
Jamaican Shericka Jackson won the women’s 200m in 21.96 seconds, distancing Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo (22.15). Miller-Uibo was defeated in a 200m that she finished for the first time since the 2017 World Championships.
Miller-Uibo, the Rio Olympic 400m champion, is preliminarily entered in both the 200m and the 400m for Tokyo but has said she will race only the 200m. Both events, however, changed drastically in recent weeks.
The seven fastest 400m women in the world since the start of 2019 are all not expected to race the event at the Olympics. The eighth-fastest woman since the start of 2019 -- American Wadeline Jonathas -- has a top time of 49.60 in that span, which is 1.23 seconds slower than Miller-Uibo’s best.
In the 200m, American Gabby Thomas ran the third-fastest time in history at the Olympic Trials, a 21.61 that is .13 better than Miller-Uibo’s personal best.
In the men’s 200m on Tuesday, Canadian Andre De Grasse won in 19.97, edging the second- and third-place finishers from the U.S. Olympic Trials. Kenny Bednarek ran 19.99, and 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton crossed in 20.03, both slower than their Trials times.
Grant Holloway, who at U.S. Olympic Trials was .01 off the 110m hurdles world record, won in Hungary against a field of Olympic medal contenders.
Holloway, the world champion, prevailed in 13.08 seconds, well off the 12.80 world record but clearly ahead of Olympic silver medalist Orlando Ortega of Spain (13.15) and Sergey Shubenkov of Russia (13.19).
The field lacked Rio gold medalist Omar McLeod, who finished last at the Jamaican Olympic Trials and was not named to the team.
Shubenkov is the only man other than Holloway and McLeod to break 13 seconds in this Olympic cycle, with a best of 12.92 in that span.
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico confirmed her Olympic favorite status by winning the 100m hurdles in 12.34. Camacho-Quinn is the only woman to break 12.4 seconds this year, and she’s done it three times.
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