Bronze for Dina Asher-Smith in 200m final as Shericka Jackson goes supersonic

As Shericka Jackson went supersonic in one of the greatest displays in sprinting history, Dina Asher-Smith was finding inspiration from the heavens to claim a stunning bronze here in Eugene.

Stunning because, as Asher-Smith revealed afterwards, she had been knocked sideways by the death of her cherished 92-year-old grandmother Sislyn Asher, just two months ago. And here she was, after a season of doubts and heartache, finding immense grit and resolve to win yet another major medal.

Far ahead of her was Jackson, who ran an extraordinary 21.45s – the second fastest time in history behind only Florence Griffiths-Joyner – to claim gold, with her Jamaican compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce taking silver in 21.81s to claim the 21st global medal of her career.

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But Asher-Smith was rightly delighted at her medal, which came in 22.02s, and immediately dedicated her win to her grandmother, who was part of the Windrush generation having come from Trinidad after the second world war to work in an NHS hospital in Lewisham.

And as Asher-Smith revealed afterwards, Sislyn not only looked like her – but she also liked to claim she sprinted like her too.

“We looked very similar, same mannerisms, birthdays two days apart, my whole life we always had a joint birthday,” she said. “She’d like to claim she was a sprinter, 100%. If you were to ever ask she’d say, ‘it’s all from me’.

“I absolutely know she’d want me to stand there with my head held high,” she added. “She’s been giving me great signs all season. Some things have happened and I’ve been like ‘thank you grandma, thank you’, because I know she’s sending me these good vibes.”

But the biggest vibrations on the night came from the Puma spikes of Jackson as she proved herself the fastest woman alive over 200m.

What made her performance all the more extraordinary was that after 100m, the top three were separated by just 0.05s. But when she hit the home straight, Jackson flew home, running the final half of the race in 10.41s.

During her stellar career, Jackson has won a staggering 11 global medals at Olympics and world championships, across the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x100m and 4x400m relays. But an individual title has always eluded her. In an era of extraordinary Jamaican sprinters, she was the third Beetle. A George Harrison next to Fraser-Pryce and Thompson-Herah’s Lennon and McCartney. This performance, though, was her My Sweet Lord.

“I am feeling great,” she said. “I came out and put on the show. The fastest woman alive, the national and championship record, I cannot complain.”

Shericka Jackson crosses the line.
Shericka Jackson crosses the line. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Over the years, Jackson has absorbed the lessons from her friend and training partner Fraser-Pryce at the MVP track and field club in Kingston. MVP stands for Maximising Velocity and Power. And the 28-year-old Jamaican certainly displayed that in abundance.

What made this victory so special for Jackson is that she was knocked out of the 200m heats in Tokyo after slowing down too much when in the lead. It was a lesson so tough it made her cry. But it also taught her something else.

“No matter what you keep going,” she said. “After the Olympic Games I cried so hard and so much. But it was preparing me for this year and I am so grateful for this moment.”

Her gold medal was greeted by huge cheers for this was a night where most of Kingston appeared to have decamped to Oregon. There were so many vuvuzelas it sounded as if an army of mosquitoes were invading Eugene.

But Asher-Smith made plenty of noise with her performance too. “I definitely think we are in a golden era,” she said afterwards. “It’s insane. We have not seen these times for decades and decades. But also we just haven’t seen this depth either. And the fact these times are coming from an assortment of women is so special.”