Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Briana Williams and Shericka Jackson celebrate their 4x100m win in Tokyo (© Getty Images)
Anything can happen in the relays but the women’s 4x100m final went to the form book at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Friday (6), with Jamaica running the third-fastest ever time to regain a title last won by the nation in Athens in 2004.
In Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson, the Jamaican quartet featured all three individual 100m medallists, and two of the world’s three fastest ever women, and they teamed up with double world U20 champion Briana Williams to clock a national record of 41.02.
That time puts them behind only defending champions USA on the world all-time list, with US teams having clocked 40.82 and 41.01 to win at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics respectively.
The winning mark resulted in a clear victory for Jamaica, as Jackson on the anchor leg stayed ahead of 200m bronze medallist Gabby Thomas, who brought the US team home second in 41.45 for the nation’s record-extending 16th Olympic medal in the event. A strong final leg by Daryll Neita saw Great Britain, who had run a national record of 41.55 in the heats, come through for bronze in 41.88.
Having already achieved a ‘double double’ after retaining her Olympic 100m and 200m titles, Jamaica’s 4x100m success secured Thompson-Herah a golden treble in Tokyo and her fifth Olympic title overall, while for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic 100m champion Fraser-Pryce it is an eighth Olympic medal and her 12th outdoor global gold.
"I was just excited for the team to come out here and put on a show,” said Thompson-Herah, who is now the second-fastest woman in history over both the 100m and 200m following her respective winning times of 10.61 and 21.53 in Tokyo. “The feeling is surreal to capture three golds and we got a national record. We are grateful."
Fraser-Pryce added: "The main focus was getting the stick (baton) around. We knew once we got it around, we would do very well. We didn't get a world record tonight, but we got a national record.”
The previous Jamaican record had been the 41.07 run by a quartet also including Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce to win the 2015 world title in Beijing.
This time a powerful start by Williams put Jamaica narrowly ahead at the first changeover, with the 19-year-old handing the baton to Thompson-Herah. The USA also had a smooth first handover, with world relay bronze medallist Teahna Daniels taking over from Javianne Oliver. Britain’s first leg runner Asha Philip, the 2017 European indoor 60m champion, had to stretch to reach Imani Lansiquot, but with the baton safely received she too powered away before handing over to reigning world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith. For Asher-Smith, this was her one chance for a medal in Tokyo after injury prevented her from performing at her best in the 100m and forced her to withdraw from the 200m.
Out in lane eight, Thompson-Herah handed over to Fraser-Pryce who then ran a smooth bend and was ahead as she reached Jackson. For the USA, Daniels passed the baton to Jenna Prandini who held the team’s second place as she approached Thomas for the anchor.
But Jackson couldn’t be caught and she strode towards victory, with Thomas in fierce pursuit. After Asher-Smith made up some ground for Great Britain, Neita took off for the final leg and passed Switzerland’s Salome Kora and Germany’s Gina Luckenkemper down the home straight to secure a medal.
Kora crossed the finish line in 42.08 to see Switzerland finish fourth, with Germany fifth in 42.12.
Jess Whittington for World Athletics
|WOMEN'S 4x100m MEDALLISTS|
|🥇||Jamaica 🇯🇲 JAM||41.02 NR|
|🥈||United States 🇺🇸 USA||41.45|
|🥉||Great Britain 🇬🇧 GBR||41.88|