RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – The nation that produced the once-in-a-lifetime sprinter in Usain Bolt also brought to the forefront Elaine Thompson, the sprinter who denied her friend and training partner, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, a record third straight title in the 100 meters.
As for Bolt, even a lumbering start could not slow down the world’s fastest man. He became the first person to win three straight Olympic 100-meter titles, finishing in 9.81 seconds at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Sunday.
The Jamaican great defeated American rival Justin Gatlin by .08 of a second for his seventh Olympic gold medal.
Donald McLean, president of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, was in the stands to see Bolt’s victory Sunday, as he was for the sprinter’s Olympic golds in Beijing and London.
“It was a great moment for athletics and in particular the Caribbean,” he said. “I always felt that he would win. He is by far the greatest track athlete of all time.”
Bolt next runs in a 200m qualifying heat on Tuesday at 11:46 a.m. (Brazil time). The final is on Thursday.
On Saturday, Jamaica’s newest female sprint champion, Elaine Thompson, routed the field in 10.71 seconds, with Fraser-Pryce taking bronze.
At 24, more than five years younger than the woman she unseated, Thompson showed a changing of the guard does not have to mean a redrawing of the map.
“Jamaica has so many talented sprinters,” Thompson said. “To be the second champion [at 100 meters], I’m really happy.”