Amazing. Incredible. Greatest.
These were the adjectives used to describe Jamaica by the country's sprint queens following their Tokyo 2020 Women's 100 metres medal sweep here in Japan, yesterday.
Elaine Thompson-Herah blazed the track in an Olympic record time of 10.61 seconds to strike gold, retaining the title she captured at the 2016 Rio Games. Two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was well beaten, but had the consolation of claiming silver in 10.74. Shericka Jackson sealed the Jamaican sweep with bronze in a personal best 10.76.
"We're amazing," said Thompson-Herah when asked about the northern Caribbean island's 1-2-3 finish.
Thompson-Herah said she has found memories of a similar women's century podium sweep at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Fraser-Pryce was golden, while silver was shared by Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart.
"I was home," said Thompson-Herah, "and I was super excited for them, so to be in that history now is amazing."
Fraser-Pryce has the distinction of being the only athlete to feature in both sweeps.
"The legacy we have in Jamaica is incredible," said Fraser-Pryce. "I'm hoping that no matter what happens, our athletes can draw inspiration; from Shericka, being a quarter-miler and stepping down to the sprint; from Elaine, running the Olympic record; from me, coming to my fourth Olympic Games."
Jackson, the 2016 Olympic 400m bronze medallist, has transitioned smoothly to the short sprint. After the race, the third-place finisher spoke about her country with great pride.
"We are the greatest! We just bring it. A sweep is just amazing."
A fourth Caribbean sprinter, Trinidad and Tobago's Michelle-Lee Ahye missed out on a lane in the final by the narrowest of margins. Ahye finished second in the second semi-final in 11 seconds flat, the same time recorded by Briton Daryll Neita, who was fourth in the third semi. Neita earned the eighth and final qualification spot by one-thousandth of a second.
Bahamian Tynia Gaither clocked 11.31 for sixth spot in the opening semi.
The Dominican Republic quartet of Andres Feliz, Marileidy Paulino, Anabel Medina and Alexander Ogando snatched silver in the 4x400m mixed relay in a national record time of three minutes, 10.21. Poland won in 3:09.87 - a new Olympic record - with third spot going to United States in 3:10.22. Jamaica clocked 3:14.95 for seventh spot.
Dominican Republic also earned silver yesterday in weightlifting, Zacarias Bonnat finishing second in the Men's 81kg category.
Chad Wright landed the implement 62.56 metres for ninth spot in the Men's discus. Gold went to Sweden's Daniel Stahl (68.90m).
Natoya Goule produced a fine run in the first of three Women's 800m semi-final heats, the Jamaican winning in 1:59.57 to secure a berth in Tuesday's final. Cuba's Rose Mary Almanza was fourth in the third semi in 1:59.65, and did not advance.
Jamaicans Oblique Seville and Yohan Blake and St Kitts and Nevis sprinter Jason Rogers are through to this morning's Men's 100m semi-finals. In round one, Seville equalled his 10.04 personal best in finishing second in heat three, while Blake was second in heat seven in 10.06. Rogers clocked 10.21 for third spot in heat four.
"I'm not leaving here without a medal," Blake declared. "I know I'm in great shape, so I'm not worried."
Antigua and Barbuda's Cejhae Greene finished sixth in heat six in 10.25 and did not progress to the semis.
"That race just didn't reflect what I know we've seen in practice," Greene lamented.
Bahamian Samson Colebrooke, Guyana's Emanuel Archibald, Cayman Islands sprinter Kemar Hyman and injured Barbadian Mario Burke were also eliminated. Jamaican Tyquendo Tracey was a non-starter.
"My body just didn't react," said Archibald. "I'm learning. I hope to be ready at World Champs next year. I'll be in better shape."
In the preliminary round, Archibald had finished second in heat two in 10.30 seconds to secure his round one lane. Shaun Gill did not advance, the Belize sprinter getting to the line fifth in heat one in 10.88.
"I was pretty calm and I was mentally focused," said Gill. "I just don't know. Halfway through the race, I just felt kind of gassed."
Jamaica's Janieve Russell and Barbadian Tia-Adana Belle will be on show in the semi-final round of the Women's 400m hurdles, on Monday. Russell finished second in heat two in 54.81 seconds, while Bell was second in heat four in 55.69. T&T's Sparkle McKnight was a non-starter after testing positive for Covid-19.
"Ultimate goal," said Belle, "is to medal and beat the national record (53.36). I need a national record."
Jamaica's reigning world champion Tajay Gayle battled through a painful knee injury to qualify for the Men's long jump final. Gayle disturbed the sand at 8.14 metres. His teammate, Carey McLeod could only manage 7.75m and was eliminated. T&T's Andwuelle Wright contracted Covid-19, and is out of the Olympics.