Elaine Thompson is the double Olympic sprint champion from Rio. She ran aamzingly well in Birmingham, with a stadium record, 6.98.
Stuart Weir, one of our favorite writers, wrote this piece on Elaine Thompson. We think you will enjoy the Jamaican super star.
Elaine Thompson and running indoors.
I first spoke to Elaine Thompson at the World Indoors in Portland, Oregon, last March. It was in the lobby of the team hotel and I had to ask “Are you Elaine?” Since then she has won the 100 and 200 at the Rio Olympics and is an instantly recognisable athlete.
Running at the MÃ¼ller Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday, Thompson was the fastest in the heats, running 7.22 before winning the final in a stadium record time of 6.98. She gave the new Birmingham track – which will be used for the 2018 World Indoors – a thumbs up confirming “The track is very fast”. She also endeared herself to the locals, saying: “It was my first time competing in Birmingham and I really enjoyed it”.
She said that her aim, going into the race was to go below her current PB (7.02) so she was delighted but not surprised with 6.98. Like many sprinters she prefers a heat and final structure – rather than the typical Diamond League one-off race – to get a warm-up run under her belt: “I enjoyed going through the heats, to get the rhythm and feel for the track and then come back for the final”.
Her approach to running is simplicity itself: “I felt confident in the heat and just wanted to execute a good race, to concentrate on first 5 strides and take it from there”.
Going back to her change of status in the pecking order over the past year, she acknowledged that she is aware of different expectations on her now but seemed to know how to cope with it all: “I feel a lot of pressure [as Olympic Champion] because everyone tells you that they want you to win but I don’t put any pressure on myself. I just try to work hard and move forward.”
Another question in my mind was what is a Jamaican doing running in a cold Birmingham area in any case? I remember seeing Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce running her first ever indoor race in Birmingham 4 years ago. “Is it really your first ever indoor race?”, she was asked. “I am from Jamaica, why would I want to run indoors?” she replied – adding with her impish sense of humour that – as it was her ever first race indoors – she was confident of running a PR. Thompson had run a practice 60 metre race before Birmingham in Jamaica – outdoors!
Another year, another Jamaican, another victory and another PB. Plus Ã§a change, plus c’est la mÃªme chose as the French say*.
*The more things change, the more they stay the same.