Compatriot Usain Bolt cruises into men's 200m final and both have triple gold in their sights
Elaine Thompson blasted to the 200m Olympic title on Wednesday (17 August) night, earning Jamaica another sprint double as she had already claimed the 100m gold earlier in the Rio 2016 Games.
"My school motto was 'let the light shine' and I let my light shine tonight," said Thompson. "It's a big surprise to me because I have had a hamstring injury. You must overcome these things and tonight I am standing here with a gold. To beat Dafne Schippers is a hard run."
Earlier in the evening Thompson's compatriot Usain Bolt, who is also seeking to add the 200m title to the 100m gold he won on Sunday, ran the fastest time across the three semi-finals, 19.78, his best this season.
Both Thompson and Bolt are aiming for triple gold in Rio, with strong chances as part of their respective 4x100m relay teams.
Canada's Andre de Grasse ran alongside Bolt and recorded the second-best time, 19.80, causing the Jamaican to joke with him that it was not necessary to run so hard before the final.
"He was supposed to slow down," Bolt said. "I said 'What are you doing, it's a semi-final?' But I think he wanted to push me. I was a bit lazy but I got round. I don't know what he was trying to do but he's a young kid, he's great."
Bolt said that breaking his 200m world record (19.19) on Thursday remains in his sights. "I definitely think I can try for the world record, I definitely feel that. I need to run efficiently and get into the straight and run the perfect race. If I can run a little more efficiently on the turns... I will be hoping for lane six or seven maybe to be able to run as smooth as I can."
There were shocks when two of Bolt's main rivals, the USA's Justin Gatlin and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, failed to qualify for Thursday's 200m final. However, the USA's Lashawn Merritt, the fastest man over 200m this year, qualified with the third best time of the night, 19.94.
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Gatlin said: "I'm happy to still be here (for the relays). My ankle is giving me a lot of problems. I can't run properly and I had a tight turn in lane three."
The USA completed a clean sweep of the medals in the women's 100m hurdles when Brianna Rollins stormed to gold in 12.48, followed by Nia Ali on 12.59 and Kristi Castlin on 12.61.
"Oh my God, it's a relief," said Rollins. "There has been such a lot of anticipation. I have younger brothers and as the oldest I like to lead by example - even from far away."
The Americans had such strength in depth this year that they left world record holder Kendra Harrison at home.
There was also US success in the women's long jump, when two-time world champion Tianna Bartoletta finally won Olympic gold, with a life-time best 7.17m.
The 30-year-old responded to two big jumps from Serbian Ivana Spanovic and American Brittney Reese on her fifth attempt to regain the lead with one round remaining. Asked how she would celebrate afterwards, Bartoletta said: "I can't wait until I can eat a pizza."
Reese, the defending champion, took silver with 7.15m, while Spanovic claimed bronze with a national record of 7.08m.