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With the second-fastest time in world history, Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica won the heated 200-meter Olympic final in 21.53 (+0.8) for her second title of these Games to go with her 100-meter victory. Christine Mboma of Namibia was second in 21.81, while American Gabby Thomas ran 21.87 to win bronze.
By successfully defending her 100-200 sprint double win from the 2016 Rio Games, Thompson-Herah is the first woman in Olympic history to win both individual events in two Olympics.
“Oh my god, it’s amazing that I have ever seen this day,” she said. “That I could complete another double. I can’t believe it.”
Six other women have won the double in a single Olympics, and none have completed the feat since world record holder Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988. Usain Bolt is the only athlete, male or female, to complete the sprint double more than once, as he actually accomplished the feat three times in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Thompson-Herah’s time set a new Jamaican national record, breaking Merlene Ottey’s 30-year-old mark of 21.64. Only Griffith-Joyner has ever run faster, clocking 21.34 and 21.56 in 1988. It’s the second time in just three days that Thompson-Herah has drawn comparisons to Griffith-Joyner, or “Flo-Jo,” whose Olympic record she broke by winning the 100-meter final in 10.61 on Saturday.
“I really had to pull it out to win the 200m,” Thompson-Herah said. “Honestly I am so tired, my legs just need some rest. I’ve done so many races in the last few days, but I am very grateful.”
Countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won silver in the 100 meters behind Thompson-Herah’s incredible 10.61 Olympic record three days ago, had the fastest reaction time out of the blocks but was no match for her compatriot’s second-half speed.
Thomas, the U.S. Olympic Trials champion, surged to match Fraser-Pryce’s stride down the homestretch and looked like a lock for silver if not for an otherworldly close from Mboma. The 18-year-old kicked like it was a middle-distance race to secure the silver medal and set a new world junior record, while Thomas held on to earn her first Olympic medal. Fraser-Pryce finished fourth in 21.94.
“It feels amazing because I really worked for that one. I fought tooth and nail over those last 30m. I gave it my best effort and I am really happy that effort came out with a medal,” Thomas said after the race.
“It was a very tough three seconds at the end, not knowing if I got a medal or not but I focused on my composure. The last thing my coach told me was to stay relaxed throughout the entire race and I think that is what got me the medal.”
Mboma and her compatriot and fellow teenager Beatrice Masilingi, who placed sixth in a personal best of 22.28, burst onto the track and field scene this year after clocking the second and third-fastest times in the world in the 400 meters: 49.22 and 49.53. Subsequent testing revealed that both women naturally produce levels of testosterone higher than the limit set by World Athletics, categorizing them both as DSD (differences of sex development) athletes and barring them from competition in the 400m, 800m and 1500m events.
“This is my first Olympics. I came here for experience but I did better (than I expected). I am really happy with my performance. I am proud of myself,” Mboma said after the race. “In the past, every time I ran against the best athletes I felt nervous. But I don’t feel nervous now.”
You can see the full results here.
This story will be updated.