Tokyo Olympics: Fraser-Pryce bows out with a silver as post-Bolt era begins

By Sports Desk July 31, 2021

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce fell just short of winning a third Olympic gold medal in the women's 100m but is proud to have left behind a legacy on the grandest stage as she reiterated her intention to retire next year.

The reigning world champion, seeking to become the first woman to win the same athletics event at three different Games following her success at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, finished marginally behind compatriot Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Jamaica's Fraser-Pryce previously announced she intends to bow out of athletics in 2022 and will push ahead with those plans after adding to those two previous golds and the bronze collected at Rio 2016.

"The Paris Games are some way off, and I did say this would be my last Olympic appearance," said Fraser-Pryce, who missed more than a year of action around the birth of her son in 2017.

"As I said previously, I'm just happy to be competing at my fourth Games, doing it as a mum at 34 when people believe you're at the end of your career. To do what I'm doing now is a gift from God.

"I haven't had my best moment yet. I definitely believe something else is there. This is my final Olympics, but I'm looking forward to the World Championships next year and that will definitely be my final season."

Fraser-Pryce posted the fastest time in qualifying for Saturday's final, which saw six of the eight competitors finish under 11 seconds in what was the quickest women's final of all time.

Thompson-Herah's Olympic record time of 10.61s saw her take a second successive gold in the event and Shericka Jackson completed a Jamaican one-two-three with a personal best of 10.76s.

"I have respect for both of those ladies," Fraser-Pryce said. "Of course I'm disappointed – that was my first reaction. If you're an athlete and didn't run the race you wanted, you still have to be grateful for the opportunity and be happy for those who won.

"If it wasn't for the pandemic I can only imagine what would be happening in Jamaica right now. Just speaking about the legacy that we have back home, all those athletes young and old, they are all inspired by something that happened tonight."

POLAND MAKE HISTORY

The women's 100m race was one of three medal events on Saturday, with Poland earlier pulling off an upset by winning the Games' first ever 4x400m mixed relay.

Poland's team, comprised of Karol Zalewski, Natalia Kaczmarek, Justyna Swiety-Ersetic and Kajetan Duszynski, posted the fastest time in the heats and produced another great display in the final with a winning time of 3:09.87.

It is the second Olympic gold medal Poland have won in a relay event in athletics following their success in the women's 4x400m at the Tokyo Games in 1964.

United States are the world champions and entered the event as favourites, but they had tough time of things in qualifying – initially being disqualified before being reinstated – and finished third with 3:10.22.

Despite being pipped to gold by Poland and silver by the Dominican Republic, USA competitor Kendall Ellis was pleased to simply be on the podium.

"It feels great," she said. "It is so exciting to come here and run the first mixed relay at the Olympic Games, and to come out with a medal feels great. It feels like a win for us."

 

SWEDISH ONE-TWO IN MEN'S DISCUS

Sweden's Daniel Stahl lived up to his reputation of world champion by coming out on top in the men's discus to win gold, while compatriot Simon Pettersson took silver.

Stahl was the strong favourite coming into the event and registered a distance of 68.90m on his second attempt to finish ahead of Pettersson (67.39m) and Lukas Weishaidinger (67.07m) of Austria.

The last time Sweden took gold and silver in an event at a summer Games was in the men's 10,000m walk race at London 1948.

Australia's Matthew Denny sent the discus soaring a personal best 67.02m on his final attempt, but that was not enough for a medal.

"It's amazing. I am very happy," said Stahl, who became the first Swedish athlete to win an Olympic title in athletics since 2004. "There was a lot of hard work and fun on the way. I am extremely proud.

"My training partner [Pettersson] has been working hard. We have had a lot of fun together for many years. I am very proud of my coach too for believing in us and having faith."

POST-BOLT ERA BEGINS IN TOKYO

Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt won three straight men's 100m titles between 2008 and 2016, but he announced his retirement four years ago and the discipline is now wide open.

The preliminary rounds kicked off on Saturday, with the headline act being Dorian Keletela – competing at the Games as part of the Olympic Refugee team – advancing to Sunday's semi-final with a personal best of 10.33s.

In Saturday's other qualifying rounds, Cuba's Juan Miguel Echevarria spearheaded a group of 12 athletes to progress to Monday's final ​in the men's long jump with a leap of 8.50m.

2019 world champion Tajay Gayle, representing Jamaica, had to have a bandage applied to his left knee after struggling in his first two attempts, though he still advanced with a jump of 8.14m.

There were no surprises in the men's 800m heats, with all the favourites still in contention to take the title off David Rudisha, who is not competing at this year's Games due to injury.

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