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Flo-Jo impact lives on - Records lessen respect for female sprinters - Thompson

Published:Thursday | September 15, 2016 | 12:00 AMShayne Fairman
Top female sprinter Elaine Thompson (left) gets congratulatory words and a hug from Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange at a welcome home reception for athletes of the MVP Track and Field Club, which was held at the Norman Manley International Airport on Tuesday night.

New sprint superstar Elaine Thompson, who copped the sprint double in her first Olympics, is happy making her mark on the global stage with her own fast times and competing with her unique style but admits that she's not paying too much attention to the women's 100m world record at this time.

Thompson, who has personal bests of 10.70, which is also a Jamaican national record, and 21.66 over 200 metres, swept the 100m gold from training partner and former champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, while outclassing Dutch athlete Dafne Schippers for the 200m gold in Rio.

Thompson believes the women's world record of 10.49 seconds, set by American Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988, remains unattainable and has influenced how people view female athletes.

"That record is really far from me right now, so I think that also contributes to the reasons why we don't get that much respect because we don't run a lot of world records or fast times," Thompson told members of the media.

"But I mean, 10.70 and 10.60 is also a good time for a female, but looking at 10.49, it's unbelievable and way out of our lines, so I think the times have something to do with it as well," she added.

The 24-year-old was speaking at Tuesday night's arrival ceremony for Olympians, coaches and the support team of her track club. It was held at the Pineapple Lounge at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.




Meanwhile, since winning her individual double gold and relay silver in Rio, Thompson has not looked back, but went on to cop a brilliant season with a 10.72-second victory in the 100m to win the Diamond Trophy at the Memorial van Damme meet in Brussels last Friday.

The Stephen Francis-coached athlete raked in a whopping US$100,000 and has hit the scene as one of the top 10 moneymakers of the 2016 IAAF Diamond League.

Thompson confirmed that she is her own person, who is comfortable doing things her way and doesn't want to be compared with anyone.

"Honestly, I think it's based on our personalities because we are not the type of a Usain Bolt who goes out there and have fun before our championships," she said.

"The females just want to stay focused and be themselves, so I think that contributes to us not getting that attention. But I will just continue being myself. If I can do a little thing before running I will try, but based on the personality we have going into the race that we run, we don't normally do that," she continued.

Meanwhile, the athlete, who hails from Banana Ground in Manchester, said it was "great to be back home" while admitting jokingly that one of her first things is to "go to KFC".