The 2021 Prefontaine Classic featured the fastest women’s 100m field in history, which included the Tokyo Olympic podium (Elaine Thompson Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson), plus the most notable athlete to miss the Tokyo Games: Sha’Carri Richardson.
The Jamaican trio proved their Olympic success was not a fluke. The women’s 100m podium in Eugene was the exact same as the one in Tokyo: Thompson-Herah first, Fraser-Pryce second, and Jackson third.
Richardson, who missed the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for marijuana and having her U.S. Trials result disqualified, finished last in 11.14, well off her personal best (10.72).
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“Coming out today, it was a great return back to the sport,” Richardson told NBC Sports’ Lewis Johnson after the race. “I’m not upset at myself at all… You know what I’m capable of… Count me out if you want to… I’m here to stay.”
The winner of the Prefontaine women’s 100m – Thompson-Herah – left no doubt that she is the fastest woman in the world. The 29-year-old improved her own personal best by half a second, crossing the line in 10.54. Only Florence Griffith-Joyner has run faster (10.49 seconds).
Fastest women in history – 100 meters
Includes only wind legal times
- Florence Griffith-Joyner (USA) -10.49 seconds (July 16, 1988)
- Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM) – 10.54 seconds (August 21, 2021)
- Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) – 10.63 seconds (June 5, 2021)
- Carmelita Jeter (USA) – 10.64 seconds (September 20, 2009)
- Marion Jones (USA) – 10.65 seconds (September 12, 1998)
- Sha’Carri Richardson (USA) – 10.72 seconds (April 10, 2021)
Less than a month ago in Tokyo, Thompson-Herah won gold in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay, becoming the first woman (and second athlete after only Usain Bolt) to win both the 100m and 200m at consecutive Olympics. Also in Japan, Thompson-Herah broke Griffith-Joyner‘s 33-year-old Olympic record in the 100m. (Griffith-Joyner’s world record mark of 10.49 seconds still stands.)
Including today’s performance, Thompson-Herah now owns two of the five fastest times in history, both run in the last month. After today’s race in Eugene, Thompson-Herah said her goal is to eventually break Griffith-Joyner’s world records in both the 100m and 200m.
“I ran 10.5 [today] and I think I have so much more in me,” she said, also confirming that she isn’t yet done racing for the season.
Thompson-Herah also spoke about the media attention that’s been placed on the women’s 100m, especially in recent weeks.
“Even though we are always dominating on the track, they are always talking about the men,” she said. “For me, it’s all about equality and I’m happy to be amongst these ladies and in the history books, too.”
Also on Saturday, several other Tokyo gold medalists notched Prefontaine victories, including:
- 19-year-old Athing Mu won the women’s 800m in 1:55.04, lowering her own American record (which she set at the Tokyo Olympics). “To PR – again – this season, that’s pretty great,” the two-time Olympic gold medalist said after the race.
- Katie Nageotte followed up on her Olympic gold by winning the women’s pole vault competition.
- Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, the two-time reigning Olympic champion in the women’s 1500m, won her marquee event in a meet record (3:53.23).
Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC