Elaine Thompson-Herah from Jamaica crosses the finish line and wins the 100 meter gold medal.
Pawel Kopczynski | REUTERS
The Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah took gold over 100 meters on Saturday, becoming the fastest woman in the world when she denied her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce a third Olympic title.
Retaining her title, Thompson-Herah added a sparkle to a day US gymnast Simone Biles retired from two more Tokyo finals, and a listless Novak Djokovic failed to take bronze in tennis, after his dream of a “golden slam” was dashed.
Thompson-Herah led a Jamaican 100 meter podium with Shericka Jackson in third place. The master’s incredible time of 10.61 seconds was only surpassed by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, who set a world record of 10.49 in 1988.
“I put it all in, I gave 100 and I would say I’m ready, super ready, but I just had to keep my composure to get out of here, it’s going to run for a minute,” she said.
“It shows that Elaine is back tonight. She was nowhere.”
The day had started with local fans defying a ban on spectators to take a look at the triathlon. Large crowds lined the streets at Odaiba Marine Park on the Tokyo coast, defying Olympic staff, who carried signs and megaphones, telling them not to gather by the roadside to watch the event.
The setbacks for stars like Biles and Djokovic were in some ways fitting for the unlikely games taking place without spectators amid an expanding pandemic. Minutes after his single defeat, Djokovic withdrew from the mixed doubles for bronze.
New infections with Covid-19 reached 4,058 in Tokyo, a new record and for the first time over 4,000. The government has extended the state of emergency in the capital and extended it to neighboring prefectures.
Swimmers Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel regained some lost glamor for America, while Lyu Xiaojun took gold in men’s weightlifting and brought China’s medal win to 21. Japan has 17 gold medals and the United States has 16.
In the first doping cases at the Games, two sprinters, Kenyan Mark Otieno and Nigerian Blessing Okagbare, were suspended after testing positive for banned substances.
American BMX racer Connor Fields was relocated from intensive care after suffering a brain hemorrhage in his terrible accident the day before. Fields, originally one of the big favorites for gold, went down hard in the semifinals in a fall in the first corner.
Much of the focus at the Games was on Superstar Biles, who stunned the world this week when she was eliminated from the team competition after a poor opening jump and then refused to defend her all-round crown because of worries about her mental and physical Concern caused well-being.
“Today, after further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles decided to withdraw from the event finals for jump and uneven bars,” USA Gymnastics said, adding that she would continue to be evaluated daily to see if she would compete in the finals for the Floor exercise and the balance beam.
Their openness has brought the issue of athletic mental health into the spotlight and sparked a wave of global support. She talked about the “twisties,” incidents of disorientation during some of her gravity-defying skills.
Djokovic, who won a bronze medal in singles in Beijing in 2008 but did not fight for a place on the podium in London, Rio and now Tokyo, withdrew from the mixed doubles minutes after his defeat by the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the singles bronze game.
On Friday, the Serb lost in the individual semi-finals against the German Alexander Zverev.
His retirement from mixed doubles means women’s number one Ash Barty and John Peers take a bronze medal for Australia.
In swimming, Ledecky and Dressel have expanded their medal wins and improved the previously disappointing games for the US swim team, whose eight gold medals are only half the deficit from Rio. Continue reading
Ledecky, who lost her 200- and 400-meter titles to Australian Ariarne Titmus before beating her in the 1,500, became the first female swimmer to win six individual gold medals and sail home over 800m on Saturday.
“She made it hard and it was a lot of fun to race,” said Ledecky.
World champion Dressel stormed to the 100 m butterfly title in a world record time and won his second individual gold to increase his gold in the 4×100 freestyle relay.
Britain won the first mixed 4×100 medley relay of the Olympics for its fourth gold in swimming and set a world record time. Britain’s four pool gold medals represent the best return in swimming competitions in more than a century.