Jamaican and US women alike have new Sprint nemesis
I hesitated commenting on the Women’s Olympic sprint scenarios after my post on the 4 x 100 metres relay due to the back and forth , topsy turvy results at various track meets worldwide. A similar dynamic exists with the Men’s competition, however the Women’s results have been more unpredictable even among the leading contenders.
For the past 8 years, continuing the Beijing Olympics fierceness, Jamaican and US female sprinters have roughly split victories in both the 100 metres and the 200 metres.Then about 2 years ago a former Heptathlete from The Netherlands had the audacity to join the fray of elite Track competition. Dafne Schippers decided to go from 7 events to just the 2 fastest track, 100 and 200 metres. Unprecedented, especially as she entered the charts top ranking beating established speedsters with names like Felix of USA and Thompson of Jamaica. Chaos.
I hesitated as the review of the results was scattered with everyone taking first place at different cities’ track meets. However things crystallized in 2015 at Beijing ‘s World Championships. The Blonde Girl aka The Dutch Woman smoked the top class line up in a blistering 21.63 seconds. See the YouTube video below. The lean. Coming from behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson who accelerated in the curve to grab the lead, The Blonde Girl was text-book at the tape-she leaned. The sprinter’s Dip.Winner. Shocking upset. Thomson looked at the electronic results in disbelief.Jamaica’s legendary sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown in third position.
Crystal clear :Flo-Jo’s 21.34 sec record in jeopardy
So today , a few days after Schippers’ IAAF Diamond 200 metres win of 21.93 seconds in Oslo a new clarity. The time indicative of that unpredictable aspect of these sprints, especially the women. Dafne Schippers is strong out of the blocks, a marked improvement of her performances to date, her transition from the curve to the back stretch is text book flawless, at the finish even the announcer notes no one else is in the frame, yet the time is just 21.93 with Jamaican Elaine Thompson second place in 22.64 seconds.Yes, Schippers does the ‘Dip’.
Suddenly it occurs to me that on that given day with all the top sprinters going for one Gold, someone might do something crazy like break Flo-Jo’s 28 year old World record of 21.34 seconds.What if like Usain Bolt in London 2012, this Dutch woman is so advanced in the game plan and preparation , that she is holding back and playing possum to make that big event memorable?
Florence Griffith-Joyner (RIP)with her long colorful nails and model looks was the iconic personality of women’s sprints , her 1988 Seoul Olympics records in both 100 and 200 metres still standing. For this post the focus is the 21.34 seconds in the 200 metres.
Dafne Schippers also has movie star good looks with a blonde stoic manner which echoes of Sweden’s tennis champion Bjorn Borg ,and Russian 1970s sprinter Valery Borzov. Borzov won both 100 and 200 metres at tragic 1972 Munich Olympics. The top US sprinters Eddie Hart and Rey Robinson the world’s fastest missed their quarter finals round and thus disqualified.While Borzov scored double sprint gold, the Americans salvaged the 4 x 100 metres relay.I’m not a betting man but should one suggest record winning 200 metres Gold for a blonde Dutch woman , I would give a silent nod.