SportsElaine Thompson, the new goddess of speed, towards her second gold

Elaine Thompson, the new goddess of speed, towards her second gold

It rains heavily and when the churning humidity makes the air of Tokyo unbreathable, that of its Olympic Stadium, so perfectly closed that not a drop of breeze seeps through, if it is not generated by giant fans in the corridors. On the track there are no fans, but a speed generator lap after lap of the 5,000m, and a typhoon called Sifan Hassan, the Dutch woman who wins the 5,000m, comfortable, calm, just twelve hours after winning under the burning sun In the morning a series of 1,500m in which she gave a 30-meter lead (involuntarily, she had fallen) to her rivals, among them, the Spanish Esther Guerrero, when there were only 300m left (the Catalan was eliminated; the soriana Marta Pérez, with the best time of her life, 4m 4.76s).

The day after an Italian won the 100m, a powerful Puerto Rican, Jessica Camacho (12.37s), 24, wins the 100m hurdles, a usual American venue (first gold in athletics on the Caribbean island); a Greek wins the longitude (and deprives Cuba of a successor to the 2000 Olympic champion Iván Pedroso), and a gigantic Moroccan, Soufiane el Bakkali, 25, prevails in the 3,000m hurdles, the national test of the Kenyans , gold winners always from Mexico 68 except when they did not participate by boycott, in 1976 and 1980. And the American sprinters are dry of victories.

The traditional geopolitics of sport is going crazy except in one territory, that of female speed, a Jamaican inn, in which the dominance of the goddess of the 100m, Elaine Thompson, seen the semifinals of the 200m, seems to have no brake. Unless two Namibian teenagers, both 18 years old, Beatrice Masilingi and, above all, Christine Mboma, stop them in the final this Tuesday (14.50).

Both female athletes set some of the best world records in the 400m during the season: 48.54s Mboma, seventh best mark in history; 49.53s Masilingi. They would be favorites for the distance in Tokyo if the international federation had not vetoed them by applying the anti-Semenya code: those women whose natural testosterone level, produced by their body, is greater than 10 nanograms per milliliter will not be able to participate in races between 400m and one mile. Apparently, only in that arc of distances, precisely the favorites of the South African, double Olympic champion of the 800m, hyperandrogenic women have an unfair advantage. If the Burundian Francine Niyonsaba showed in the 5,000m semifinals, from which she was disqualified, that her talent has little to do with testosterone, the two young Namibians, recycled in the 200m, showed that their talent, whatever the distance , it’s tremendous.

More information

Especially Mboma, who, going badly, running out of step, accelerates down the straight and overtakes even the American favorite Gabby Thomas, and does not know how to launch himself with his chest towards the last line, but crosses it without further ado. Only two athletes fell below 22s. One is Thompson, who ran a fire semifinal, 21.66s, equaling his best mark, and the other Mboma, who running in his wake came in 21.97s, his best mark ever and a new youth world record.

The girl from Banana Ground, the town surrounded by banana trees as far as the eye can see where Thomson grew up, pursues an achievement that only Usain Bolt has achieved, winning in two Games in a row the two sprint events, 100m and 200m. Bolt did it three times (2008, 2012 and 2016). Thompson, in Rio, and is 200m away from repeating in Tokyo. It would be the first woman. None of the largest in history has. Neither Florence Griffith Joyner, who in Seoul 88 won 100m and 200m accompanied by impossible and still incredible world records (10.49s and 21.34s), repeated. Neither Fanny Blankers Koen (London 48), Marjorie Jackson (Helsinki 52), Betty Cuthbert (Melbourne 56), Wilma Rudolph (Rome 60) or Renate Stecher (Munich 72), queens of only one Games.

What will be impossible is the reactivation of the Jamaica Code 123, a new sweep of the speed podium as in the 100m in Beijing 2008 and Tokyo 2020. The third of the 100m, Shericka Jackson, who arrived with a time of 21.86s, fatigued , fell in the first series. Your time? 23.26s, slower than that of the young Spanish debutant Jael Bestue, who although she was eliminated, improved at least her personal best with 23.19s.

Subscribe here to our special newsletter about the Tokyo Games

Most Viewed