Elaine Thompson-Herah: Examining double Olympic champion's chances of making Paris amid injury woes

Elaine Thompson-Herah

Elaine Thompson-Herah: Examining double Olympic champion's chances of making Paris amid injury woes

Funmilayo Fameso 11:45 - 19.06.2024

Following her withdrawal from the 200m event at the Jamaica Olympic Trials, this article examines Elaine Thompson-Herah's chances of still making Paris to defend her Olympic 100m title.

Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah is on the brink of missing the Paris Olympic Games following her injury woes and recent withdrawal from the 200m event at the Jamaica Olympic trials.

The sprint icon is confirmed to only compete in the 100m at the trials, which unfortunately means her history-making quest of becoming the first female track athlete to win sprint double titles at three different Olympic Games in Paris is over.

Elaine Thompson-Herah || Imago

Likewise, Thompson-Herah has to make the Jamaican Olympic team in the 100m event, and considering her injury setback plus having a Season's Best (SB) of 11.30s, the possibilities of making Paris are on balance.

Thompson-Herah's injury woes since 2016

After becoming the first woman since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988 to win sprint double titles at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the Jamaican track queen was plagued by an Achilles tendon injury, which affected her performance at the 2017 World Athletics Championships and the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

However, she returned to top performance again at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, retaining her 100m title in a new Olympic record of 10.61s, and her 200m title in a new Personal Best (PB) and National Record (NR) of 21.53s. She won a third gold medal in the 4 × 100m relay, thus becoming the third sprinter behind Griffith-Joyner and Usain Bolt to complete an Olympic sprinting triple.

Thompson-Herah's journey through the 2022 and 2023 seasons was far from smooth, as persistent injuries disrupted her training regimen to the point where she contemplated ending her season prematurely.

Being a tough cookie, she concluded her 2023 campaign on a high note at the Eugene Diamond League, where she clocked a time of 10.79s. Her late-season resurgence struck that she had overcome her injury woes and was ready to re-take her place at the top of women’s sprinting in Paris.

Elaine Thompson-Herah is the world's fastest woman alive

Things were working smoothly until the NYC Grand Prix a few weeks ago, where the legendary sprinter struggled to finish her race and settled for eighth position in 11.48s (-2.1). Immediately after crossing the finish line, she needed assistance to be carried off the track and released a statement on her Instagram page afterward.

"I felt something uncomfortable as I began to push I still tried to go but it got worse” so I am awaiting professional advice moving forward” thanks for your continuous support 🙏🏾."

Thompson-Herah's latest injury setback is a cause of worry as it raises concerns about her being fit enough in time for the Jamaican Olympic trials, and eventually making the team to Paris.

What are Thompson-Herah's chances of making Paris?

Realistically, the chances are slim for the five-time Olympic champion, considering the Jamaican women's sprints relay pool is one of the most competitive in the world.

Despite this, there's a glimmer of hope as her stiffest rivals Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce haven't performed excellently this season too, having SBs of 11.03s and 11.15s respectively.

It was reported that Thompson-Herah had flown to Germany seeking help from renowned sports medicine specialist, Dr. Hans Wilhelm Müller Wohlfahrt - the doctor treated Usain Bolt, enabling him to race within three days before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

She will be seeking a similar miracle, and if her conditions improve and she can return to the elite stage trials, then she can't be written off to book that spot.

Regardless, no matter what happens in the next few weeks, whether she makes the Jamaican team or the final in Paris, nothing can erase what she’s achieved in athletics as the greatest Olympic female sprinter in history without a doubt.