TOKYO - Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah smashed a 33-year-old Olympic record as she streaked to victory in the women's 100 metres final, to successfully defend her crown at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan on Saturday.
Racing out of lane four, Thompson-Herah trailed countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce nearing the half-way stage before producing a late surge to reach the line in 10.61 seconds to eclipse the old record of 10.62 set by the late American Florence Griffith Joyner in Seoul.
Significantly, the 29-year-old, who has battled a troubling Achilles injury in recent times, led a Jamaican sweep of the podium positions as the 34-year-old Fraser-Pryce finished second in 10.74 and Shericka Jackson, third in a personal best 10.76.
The performance marked the first time the top three finishers in a women's 100m final had dipped below 10.80 seconds, and was the second time Jamaica had swept the top three in a women's Olympic 100m final.
"It is amazing. Last month this time, I didn't think I would be here today," Thompson said in an interview afterwards.
"I've been up and down with the same old injury. But I had faith, I believed in God and I believed in myself. I know what I can do, I know what I am capable of doing even though I felt the [criticism] that I am [not mentally strong].
"But I believe in God and I have faith, and five years later I came here and defended my title. God is amazing."
Thompson-Herah's time, which was also a new Jamaican record, made her the second fastest woman of all time.
Fraser-Pryce, seeking her third Olympic 100m title, burst from the blocks in lane five to lead early but with Thompson-Herah on her shoulder, and Cte d'Ivoire's Marie-Josee Ta Lou going well in lane six.
Herah-Thompson pulled alongside Fraser-Pryce at the half-way stage before storming ahead over the last 30 metres, with enough time to celebrate while crossing the line.
Jackson, running out of lane seven, also reeled in Ta Lou late and was just behind Fraser-Pryce at the finish.
"I don't think technically [the race] was good. I actually had a stumble in about the third step and I really never recovered from that," said Fraser-Pryce, who won the first of her two Olympic gold medals in the 100 metres in 2008.
"But there's no excuse, I'm not making any excuses. Congratulations to Elaine for coming out here and getting the Olympic record, and also to Shericka - a quarter-miler finishing in third place is just awesome."
Moments before the 100m final, the Dominican Republic grabbed silver in the mixed 4_400 metres relay with a national record three minutes 10.21 seconds, as Poland won the event being staged at the Olympics for the first time.
Meanwhile, London 2012 Olympic 100 and 200 metres silver medallist, Yohan Blake, began his quest for gold when he was one of three Caribbean runners to advance to Sunday's semi-finals.
The 31-year-old was second in heat seven in 10.06 seconds, behind winner Rohan Browning of Australia in 10.01.
Barbadian Mario Burke finished last and failed to qualify, after picking up an injury during the heat.
Blake's Jamaican teammate Oblique Seville also reached the next round by finishing second in heat three in a personal best 10.04 seconds while Jason Rogers of St Kitts and Nevis was third in heat four in 10.21, to also qualify.
There was disappointment, however, for Guyana's Emanuel Archibald who emerged from the preliminaries to finish last in heat two of the opening round in 10.41, while Bahamian Samson Colebrooke was seventh in 10.33.
Cayman Islands' Kemar Hyman finished seventh in 10.41 in heat four to also miss out along with Antiguan Cejhae Greene who was sixth in heat six in 10.25.
The 100 metres semi-finals are scheduled 7.15 pm 6.15 am (Eastern Caribbean time) on Sunday, with the final set for two hours and 35 minutes later.