Elaine Thompson-Herah: Is her comeback already a threat to Sha'Carri Richardson and Shericka Jackson?

Elaine Thompson-Herah: Is her comeback already a threat to Sha'Carri Richardson and Shericka Jackson?

Funmilayo Fameso 15:15 - 12.09.2023

Should the comeback to form of Elaine Thompson-Herah be worrisome to Sha'Carri Richardson and Shericka Jackson's dominance?

The women's 100m sprints has never been more competitive than it is currently, and this is due to the relentless, consistent performances of Elaine Thompson-Herah, Sha'Carri Richardson, Shericka Jackson, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

These four women have surpassed expectations in the 100m and 200m events, pushing each other to greatness, and recorded the top fastest times in history - bar-breaking late Florence Griffith-Joyner's long-standing World Records of 10.49s and 21.34s.

Budapest strengthening the foundation for an impeccable future in the women's sprints

At the just concluded World Championships in Budapest, Richardson blazed to the 100m world title in a Championship Record (CR) of 10.65s. She not only defeated Jackson and defending champion Fraser-Pryce, but her time became the joint fifth-fastest time in history.

From L-R: Shericka Jackson, Sha'Carri Richardson, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Consequently, in the 200m, Jackson stormed to the title in a jaw-dropping CR of 21.41s, erasing her previous record of 21.45s and strengthening her position as the fastest woman alive in the event.

Amongst these memorable performances that lit up the women's sprints in Budapest, one notable name was missing - Thompson-Herah (the double Olympic champion and fastest woman alive in the 100m).

Why Elaine Thompson-Herah's comeback is worrisome to Sha'Carri Richardson and Shericka Jackson
Elaine Thompson-Herah is the reigning Olympic 100m champion

Why Thompson-Herah was missing in individual action in Budapest

The Jamaican five-time Olympic champion had an injury-plagued early season that saw her almost give up racing for the rest of the year.

As a matter of fact, her first 100m race of the season was in June, at the JAAA All Comers meet in Kingston, which she won in 11.24s.

Still struggling with her injury problems, Thompson-Herah competed at the Jamaican trials, and after scaling through the heat and semifinal stages, she settled for fifth in the final in a then Season's Best (SB) of 11.05s (not good enough to make the Jamaican individual team to Budapest).

The comeback of Thompson-Herah after Budapest

In her first race after the disappointment of not running in an individual event in Budapest, the 31-year-old sped to a new SB of 11.00s to finish third behind newly crowned world champion Richardson (10.88s) and countrywoman Natasha Morrison (11.00s) at the Zurich Diamond League.

Sha'Carri Richardson wins battle of fastest women at Zurich Diamond League
Elaine Thompson-Herah finished third behind Sha'Carri Richardson at Zurich Diamond League

Despite not winning, she set a bold claim on gradually getting back to her best and still in the conversation of the world's best female sprinters.

She proved this in her next race at the Galà dei Castelli meet in Switzerland, where she ran her first sub-11s of the season in 10.92s to win the 100m event.

However, her best performance of the season announcing her total comeback for the year was at the Brussels Diamond League, winning in a blistering 10.84s.

This race threw down the gauntlet of setting up a final clash with Richardson at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League in Eugene, and many pundits believe she may be in top shape to stun the world champion to a memorable win in her home country.

Why the comeback of Thompson-Herah is a threat to Richardson and Jackson

The most dominant sprinters in the women's 100m and 200m events this season are Richardon and Jackson. Both ladies have shared the fastest times in the world this season, while Jackson has been undefeated in the 200m.

Sha'Carri Richardson and Shericka Jackson

Despite their dominance, it can arguably be said that the unavailability of Thompson-Herah for most of the season contributed to this, and with her performances in the past two weeks, she may be ready to stop that jolly ride in Eugene and ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic year.

Thompson-Herah is the fastest woman alive, having a lifetime best of 10.54s. If anyone is to threaten Richardson's first Diamond League trophy in Eugene, the multiple Olympic champion tops the list as she hardly ever loses a race when fully fit.

While for Jackson, she is tipped as the top contender to break the 200m WR, having run three of the four fastest times in history (21.41s, 21.45s, and 21.48s).

She revealed in a recent interview her goal of breaking the WR this year, especially in Eugene. Though Thompson-Herah isn't in that shape yet to attempt the WR or push Jackson this season, she'll be ready to do that in 2024, gunning to defend her Olympic title and as third-fastest in history with 21.53s.

In conclusion, the cause of worry for Richardson and Jackson is not necessarily this season but ahead of the Paris Olympic Games, in which Thompson-Herah will be aiming to regain her top sprinting position in the world and break the World Records.