Not so much Shericka, as Eureka!
The watching world took a collective gasp when Shericka Jackson finally won her first individual global title in Oregon last year with her scorching 21.45.
At 28, the long-time quarter miler who had made the third step of the World Championships 400m podium in Doha in 2019 – then metamorphosed into a short sprints convert, claiming Olympic 100m and 200m bronze in Tokyo in 2021 – had rocketed her way to the No.2 spot on the world all-time 200m list, behind the late Florence Griffith-Joyner’s long-deemed untouchable 21.34.
Thirteen months on, having collected a second successive world silver at 100m, Jackson uncorked another champagne half-lap performance to wow the world once again.
The impact was evident on her closest rival’s face as runner-up Gabby Thomas crossed the line a whopping 0.40 behind, her mouth agape in wonder – as it was again when the silver medallist from the USA, fourth on the world all-time list, embraced the victor and looked up at the giant screen to see Jackson’s time.
The screen and the trackside clock showed 21.41, the second-fastest 200m run in history, breaking the championship record Jackson set in Oregon, where she won by 0.36 from Fraser-Pryce, a seven-time global champion at 100m.
On this occasion the winning margin was 0.04 bigger and the winning time 0.04 faster.
It was some sight to behold. Jackson was only fourth out of the blocks, with a reaction time on 0.161, but she was up and into her unstoppable stride halfway round the turn.
She entered the home straight already with clear daylight behind her, then powered unrelentingly clear with her tall, upright, smoothly efficient action, no lateral movement in evidence.
With Thomas second in 21.81 and her teammate, 100m winner Sha’Carri Richardson, taking bronze in a lifetime best 21.92, it was not quite the biggest winning margin in a women’s 200m final at the outdoor World Championships.
The gap between Allyson Felix and Veronica Campbell in Osaka in 2007 was 0.47 – and between another US athlete, Inger Miller, and another Jamaican, Beverly McDonald, 0.45 in Seville in 1999.
Still, the sensational Shericka had reason to party like it was the final year of the last Millennium as she became the first Jamaican woman to mount a successful defence of the world 200m title since Merlene Ottey, a winner in Stuttgart in 1993 and again in Gothenburg two years later.
“Yesterday, in the semifinals, I ran the curve a little bit conservatively,” said Jackson, “but I think I did pretty good tonight!
“I ran a good race – 21.41 is a time I cannot complain about. It feels good that even though I used to run 400m I can still do a very good 100m and 200m. I feel like I am a living testimony that you can create something if you really want it and never give up.
“Even if I was pretty close to the world record, it was not the thing on my mind when I ran.
“I will continue to work and I hope I can maintain at least this level and we will see if the world record will come.”
Thomas, who set a PB of 21.60 at the US Championships last month, confessed: “I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the screen afterwards.
“I knew that I was coming in to the final hot, so that was to my advantage,” said the Harvard graduate. “I did some time trials before the race to get my legs moving and get the feel of it. But it was such a fast race.
“I ran my race and I stayed composed, so I am happy to come out with a silver. To go to Paris for the Olympics would be amazing. I felt so much support in Budapest. I would love to repeat this feeling next year.”
As for Richardson, she had good reason to celebrate another medal from what is her major championships debut – this time at her secondary distance, ahead of the St Lucian Julien Alfred (fourth in 22.05), Briton Daryll Neita (fifth in 22.16, a PB). Farther back, Britain’s 2019 world champion Dina Asher-Smith was seventh in 22.34 and Marie Josee-Ta Lou eighth in 22.64, 90 minutes after helping the Ivory Coast into the 4x100m final.
“My goal was to end up in the final of both events, so doing that was already mission accomplished for me,” said Richardson. “But being able to win the 100m and get a medal in the 200m, that’s a dream come true.
“After not qualifying for the team at all last year, to get the podium in both of my races here is amazing. My talent is beyond measure.
“The competition is only going to get hotter from here so I need to prepare myself for the Olympics. This week has been indescribable. And I know there is better to come.”
|WOMEN’S 200m MEDALLISTS|
|🥇||Shericka Jackson 🇯🇲 JAM||21.41 CR, NR, WL|
|🥈||Gabby Thomas 🇺🇸 USA||21.81|
|🥉||Sha’Carri Richardson 🇺🇸 USA||21.92 PB|
Credit: World Athletics