How Kishane Thompson has become (by surprise) the new threat to the US
Patricio Díaz
July 2, 2024

Kishane Thompson has just placed first in the short 100m sprint at the Olympic Games for his recent time in his country, Jamaica. Paris 2024 will not only see a thrilling duel between several contenders, also if the Caribbean country confirms its hegemony and how the United States, as of late, sees how it is surpassed by this small country of only 2.8 million inhabitants.

It was 112 years ago that the IAAF-approved world record for the 100-meter dash was set for the first time. On that occasion, the American Donald Lippincott achieved a time of 10.6 seconds at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. It was nine years later that Charley Paddock, also from the United States, lowered it to 10.4 seconds. There was no new record until 1930, by the Canadian Percy Williams, because these long lapses had to do with the manual taking of times (and only taken with tenths of a second). Only six other men were able to equal the record of 10.3 seconds before 1936, when Jesse Owens lowered the mark to 10.2 seconds. The advent of the automatic stopwatch became a requirement for setting world records from 1977. It was also at this time that times came to be taken in hundredths of a second. This is the context of the unparalleled advance of human speed, bringing the stopwatch down to levels that were unthinkable years ago.

The second great change, besides the stopwatch, has been the loss of American hegemony and the rise of Jamaican hegemony. This primacy confirms the expectant present of Kishane Thompson, aspiring to be the fastest man on the planet. Currently, his mark (9.77) is the fourth in the world, being surpassed by his compatriots Usaint Bolt (9.58), Yohan Blake (9.66) and Asafa Powell (9.72). The numerical record, achieved at the Kingston Trials this past week, makes Thompson one of the names the sports world will be watching closely at Paris 2024.

THE ‘JAMAICA LIGHTNING’ MARKS

Jamaica’s new ‘lightning bolt’, as he is already being dubbed by the press, will be competing in the Olympic Games at the age of 23. The curly-haired man is a recent invitee to the sprint elite, since his debut at the Monaco Diamond League a year ago, running 10.04 seconds to finish fifth. In September 2023, he lowered his 100m personal best to 9.85 to finish second at the Diamond League event in Xiamen, China.

And so on until June 27, when he achieved his personal best time and won the Jamaican national title, which puts him in pole position to win the world’s premier sprint competition at the Olympic Games. With this time, Thompson became the ninth fastest man in history, behind five Americans and three Jamaicans.

Thompson’s electrifying emergence confirms his clear response to doubts about his ability to cope with the expectations created by his rising results: “Mentally, I’m ready to handle the pressure,” he said without hesitation last January. One of the factors that augur a clear sky in the athlete’s future is the track record of his coach, Stephen Francis, a renowned trainer who boosted Jamaican sprinting at the turn of the century with Asafa Powell, the island’s first 100m world record holder.

HIS SHIN AND PROPENSITY TO PUT ON WEIGHT

But there are also aspects that loom as a threat to the fulfillment of the proposed goals. One is the propensity to injuries (the last one was a torn quadriceps in January), which has made of the dosage of competitions, Francis’ recipe to avoid the ghost of muscular affections in such an expectant moment for his pupil. Others are ongoing shin problems and his propensity to put on weight, treated in recent months with an anti-gravity machine. “The knowledge we have now is far superior to what we had 15 years ago and he won’t have to face the challenges that Powell had to face,” said an optimistic Francis of the mitigation mechanisms he now has at his disposal.

For the event in the French capital, apart from his compatriots, the most serious obstacle Thompson will have to face to crown his golden dream is the U.S. team with his credit Noah Lyles. Lyles won the Olympic qualifier in his country, which added to his triumph over the best sprinters of the world in Budapest (Thompson was subtracted because of his dosage plan), include him with authority in the fight for the Paris podium.

The time for speculation is now behind us and it will be the Stade de France track that, from August 1 to 11, will host the best athletes on a planetary level. Once again, the eyes of the fans will be able to watch in less than 10 seconds the epic struggle to conquer the crown of the fastest man on the planet. Kishane Thompson will arrive as the favorite, with his

The time for speculation is behind us and it will be the Stade de France track that, from August 1 to 11, will welcome the best athletes on a planetary level. Once again, the eyes of the fans will watch in less than 10 seconds the epic struggle to conquer the crown of the fastest man on the planet. Kishane Thompson will arrive as favorite, with his legs ready to bear the weight of the race and his neck ready to receive the medal, which in his mind can only be the golden one. The prince of the Jamaican dynasty has long been at the starting point waiting for the shot, to run for the crown and to meet with history.

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