In the fast lane - Thompson coping with bothersome Achilles tendon
Elaine Thompson, the 2016 Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion, looked as fit as a fiddle at last Saturday’s Milo Western Relays. Thompson electrified fans with a zippy second leg that put her MVP Track Club in command in the women’s 4x100 metres on the crimson track at the GC Foster College. It was a run that confirmed the impression given the previous week when she won a 60 metres race at the National Stadium.
Bubbling afterwards, the 26-year-old ticked the box denoting fitness. “I’m in the background training, so I’m putting in the work,” she explained.
Last year, she cut her season short to rest her bothersome Achilles tendon. “Honestly, it’s not 100 per cent, but I’m coping, I’m dealing with it,” she said. “It’s really hard to treat, but honestly, I’m doing the best that I can,” Thompson said of the rest and regular therapy she undergoes to combat the problem.
The tendon held her back in 2017, when she was fifth in the 100 metres at the World Championships, and in 2018, where she was fourth in the 200 metres at the Commonwealth Games. Ever cheerful, Thompson has turned the page and expects to perform in 2019.
“It’s a long season,” she said with regard to the September 27 start of the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, “but I’m looking forward, just taking it race by race and step by step, nothing to rush, just to get the fitness going and just go out there and perform all the time.”
Thompson burst into prominence with a series of personal bests in 2015, including a run of 21.66 seconds in a narrow loss to Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers at the World Championships. That time makes her second among Jamaicans, only behind Merlene Ottey and slots her into fifth on the world all-time performance list.
A year later, she became the first Jamaican woman to win the Olympic sprint double. That campaign saw her join Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as the fourth-fastest of all time in the 100m at 10.70 seconds.
Her success made coach Stephen Francis the second man to produce the winner in the Olympic 100 metres three times, as her training partner Fraser-Pryce had won in 2008 and 2012.