Medals flowing in women's 100m
Generations passed before Merlene Ottey joined Cynthia Thompson as a Jamaican Olympic 100 metres finalist. However, since Ottey matched Thompson, a 1948 finalist, in 1984, the medals have come almost non-stop. When athletics starts at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro today, the Jamaican trio of two-time defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson, and Christania Williams will seek to add to the country's tally of 11 medals in this event.
Fraser-Pryce, winner of gold medals in 2008 and 2012, is number one, with Ottey next with a silver medal from a narrow loss to American Gail Devers in 1996 and two third-place finishes. The last of them came after the fact as Ottey had crossed the line in fourth at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. However, the subsequent disqualification of American Marion Jones retro-actively moved the Jamaican pair of fast-starting Tayna Lawrence and Ottey all up one spot.
Curiously, the International Olympic Committee hasn't awarded the gold medal to Ekaterini Thanou of Greece, who was second to Jones on the day, since she was pinpointed for dodging a pre-Olympic drug test in 2004. Sanctioning Thanou would leave Lawrence as Jamaica's first female Olympic sprint champion.
Devers had edged Juliet Cuthbert for gold in 1992, with Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart tying for second in a unique 1-2-2 finish in 2008, led by Fraser Pryce. That was the first Olympic sweep of the top three places in the event. It is a finish that will be difficult to duplicate.
Like Ottey and Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown has run into the podium places more than once. In 2004, she took third place. Wonderfully durable, she was also third in 2012. The comparison between her bronze medal times is stark: 10.97 seconds in 2004 and 10.81 in 2012.