Olympic 100m Races Deliver Drama, Records, And A Surprise New Champion

The men’s and women’s 100m races at the Tokyo Olympics have left fans with plenty to digest. 

The first shock came in the men’s field…where Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs surprised everyone by taking the gold medal ahead of the USA’s Fred Kerley and Canada’s Andre de Grasse. 

olympic 100m races deliver drama, records, and a surprise new championPhoto via Reuters

The little-known Jacobs is the first Olympic champion of the post-Usain Bolt era, taking over the title from the eight-time gold medallist who dominated the sport for the past three editions of the Games. 

The second surprise was how many favourites were missing from the final. 

The USA’s Trayvon Bromell – who was the hot favourite to win gold – couldn’t even make it past the semis. 

Yohan Blake of Jamaica – at one time a challenger to Bolt’s crown – also failed to qualify for the final. 

olympic 100m races deliver drama, records, and a surprise new championPhoto via Reuters

It was the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games there was no Jamaican in the final. 

While the men’s race will be remembered for new names and a new champion, the women’s final on Saturday was a clash of two heavyweights. 

Defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah retained her title by taking the gold medal ahead of fellow Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson. 

Fraser-Pryce had been widely tipped for the gold medal, but was no match for Thompson-Herah, whose Olympic record time of 10.61 made her the second-fastest woman in history. 

This was arguably one of the most exciting women’s finals in recent years – it was definitely the quickest - with the top six finishers all running under 11 seconds. 

So as the curtain comes down on the Olympics’ two blue-riband events…we have contrasting futures ahead for the women’s and men’s fields. 

olympic 100m races deliver drama, records, and a surprise new championPhoto via AP

For the women…few will argue that we have entered the era of Thompson-Herah.  

She is now a two-time Olympic 100m champion, and at 29, may still have a chance to become a three-time champion at the next Games…following in the footsteps of the great Usain Bolt. 

Speaking of Bolt, his absence has definitely left a huge void in the men’s field. 

Jacobs may be the new Olympic champion, but his credentials as a world class sprinter have yet to really be tested. (He only switched over to sprinting from the long jump in 2018) 

Others like de Grasse and Bromell have shown that they either don’t have what it takes to dominate the field, or a simply not consistent enough, at least for now. 

In any case, it means that the race to replace Bolt as the undisputed 100m king is still wide open.  

By: Nicholas Darren John