'Thompson will go much faster'
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
Coach Stephen Francis expects Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion Elaine Thompson to go much faster, particularly in the shorter sprint, before the end of the season. He noted, however, noting that it has not yet been decided whether or not she will attempt to double at next year's World Championships in London.
Thompson won the 100m title on Saturday with a 10.71 seconds clocking, just off her personal best and national record time of 10.70 done at the national trials last month with last year's 21.66 silver medal run at the World Championships being her best time in the 200m. She also took the Olympic 200m crown on Wednesday inside the Olympic Stadium in 21.78 seconds - the third fastest time in the Olympic women's 200m final.
Francis, who said he was proud of his young charge and credited her for her ability to execute as instructed, is convinced that the world has not yet seen the best of the athlete.
"Elaine (Thompson) is at the moment someone who is very good to coach because she continually wants to improve, she listens and does all that she can and all you want her to do and that I think is what has helped her to this success," Francis said.
"She is level-headed and when she makes mistakes she is always eager to correct them so we all knew that she has been on a great improvement trend over the last three to four years and this is where it culminated. Her timing was good and we will see what the future holds for her," added Francis.
"In the 200m final she ran the race exactly how we discussed it, same thing with the semi-final and the heats. It was a little bit off with the 100m in how she ran the rounds and I told her we needed to change that for the 200m and she did and that is the sort of athlete, who we have, these youngsters they listen and try and do exactly what you ask them to, they are a pleasure to work with," added Francis.
He, however, believes the 24 year-old could have gone below 10.70 seconds here and says the focus for the rest of the year is to get her to run as fast as possible over the 100m, while adding he hasn't decided if she will run both sprints at next year's World Championships.
"I don't think she is anywhere near as developed physically as she can be, I think she can develop in that area and our job is to convert that into speed on the track and this year I still think she can run probably 10.6 low because I don't think it's a very good track here and the weather at the time of the 100m was not great; it was a bit chilly," said Francis.
"Also she had her setback at the trials and missed pretty much two weeks of practising and I think that reflected on her endurance in the 200m, she probably would have run faster if she didn't have those two weeks off.
"I'm not sure how many more times we are going to ask her to do this double, maybe we will choose one or the other at the World Championships, but for next year and later this year we have to focus on getting her to run as fast as we think she can run based on what we saw at the trials and here. I think she has another 10th (of a second) in her with decent breeze and temperature. Right now she is better than she was at trials and hopefully by the end of the season she will get a chance to show it," Francis added.
Thompson is the first woman since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988 to win the 100m - 200m double at the Olympic Games.
"That's a difficult thing to accomplish, she should be very proud. I am proud of her because she had to make a lot of changes in her life, she did that and this is the result," added Francis.