Thompson tuned to run 10.6 in Shanghai
July 11, 2015 is the last time Elaine Thompson lost a 100 metres race.
That was 22 months ago. It is also amazing.
Since that loss - a second-place finish in Madrid - Thompson has literally had her way in the 100m, racking up 15 wins in the event, leading to Rio Olympics and Diamond Race triumph in 2016. Technically, she did fail to finish a race at the start of the 2016 season, but that doesn't count - details, details.
Thompson doesn't seem to be in the mood to ease her vice-like grip on the event, and her rivals are in for another tough day against the dominating Jamaican, meaning her fans will be in for another treat at tomorrow's Diamond League stop in Shanghai when she lines up in the short sprint.
Another Jamaican Olympic gold medal winner Omar McLeod will also highlight tomorrow's meet, with the sprint hurdling kingpin arriving in Shanghai looking just as ominous as he ended 2016, when he won nine of his 12 starts in the 110m hurdles.
All in all, nine Jamaicans will be in action as the lucrative circuit goes further east following last week's Doha fireworks.
Thompson's only 100m time this season was an impressive but windy 10.75 clocked last month. She hasn't slowed down since, and last week's commanding 22.19 seconds 200m win in negative wind at the Doha meet tells everyone that she is tuned to run 10.6 seconds in the near future. That could, and I dare say, should, happen here, on a track that produced Carmelita Jeter's 10.64 run in 2009.
American Tori Bowie followed Thompson to the line in the Rio Olympics final, and she will want to score a psychological win over the Jamaican here in what will be her season-opening effort in the 100m.
Jamaican veteran Veronica Campbell-Brown started her season with a quick 11.06 - her best time in 11 months and rising talent Christania Williams can make a statement here as well.
Tiana Bartoletta (11.08) and Morolake Akinosun (11.10) are the other early season pace-setters expected at the start.
As exciting as that women's 100m is sure to be, in Shanghai - the hometown of former Chinese great Liu Xiang, the 110m hurdles is always the marquee event, and where sprint hurdling is concerned, McLeod is king.
A 13.04 seconds clocking at a wet and cold Drake Relays is a good indicator of McLeod's form heading into this one, but besides the hurdles themselves, there is potential trouble in every lane.
Fellow Jamaican Hansle Parchment will be looking to test himself after his pre-Olympics injury; Rio silver medal winner Orlando Ortega should be hoping to improve on his 13.95 seconds season-opening clocking; Sergey Shubenkov is coming back from the cold of suspension and will be eager to make a point; while medal-miner David Oliver and world record holder Aries Merritt will bring power and class to a packed field.
Three Jamaicans will feature in the women's 400m, with Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, Stephenie-Ann McPherson and veteran Novlene Williams-Mills all securing lanes, while Annsert White will line up in the 400m hurdles event.
- 6:03 a.m: Men's 400m Hurdles
- 6:34 a.m: Women's 400m
- 7:11 a.m: Women's 100m
- 7:53 a.m: Men's 110m Hurdles