Thompson embracing new responsibility
MONTE CARLO, Monaco:
With several of the island's top female sprinters nearing the end of their careers, double sprint champion at this year's Olympic Games, Elaine Thompson, says she feels an added sense of responsibility to continue Jamaica's sprinting success.
Thompson won gold medals in the 100m and 200m in Rio de Janeiro to pick up from the 200m bronze that she took home a year earlier at the World Championships in Beijing to shoot to the top of international female sprinting, making her the latest in a line of world-beating Jamaicans.
"Looking back at all the sprinters that we have had over the years, we have always dominated, and so to be that upcoming person, I do think I have a responsibility," Thompson told reporters ahead of last night's IAAF Athletics Awards here.
"Everybody wants to be Elaine, and I know I have a lot to do and a lot to deliver. I am a motivation to the children, who I know are looking up to me, so I know I have to be that person. Everyone was looking up to Shelly (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce) and Veronica (Campbell-Brown), and now they are looking up to me, and so I know I have that responsibility," Thompson said.
Motivated to work harder
The sprinter, who also topped the Diamond Race for the 100m title last season, underlined that athletes like Fraser-Pryce and Campbell-Brown played a significant role in motivating her to push towards her athletics ambitions and is cognisant that her success will have a similar impact on those to come.
"I always wanted to do track and field, and to make the Olympic team was also a big dream. I look up to so many athletes such as Veronica Campbell-Brown, Merlene Ottey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and also being among so many talented people at the MVP Track Club, which has so many Olympic medalists there, made me also want to be like them, to be hungry; it motivated me to work harder," Thompson said.
The 24-year-old pointed to a change in lifestyle, such as less partying, and the guidance of her coach Stephen Francis as the turning point in her career.
"The Elaine I was two years ago, I am not the same Elaine right now. I am a role model, now so everyone is looking up to me, so my life has changed in that sense. I'm can't go anywhere that I feel like or do certain things because all eyes will be on me so I have to be careful of the things I do and say," said Thompson.
Thompson became only the seventh woman in history to win an Olympic sprint double with her winning time of 21.78 seconds being the third-fastest winning time at the Games.