Final sprint catches up to Stevens

August 18, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — Deajah Stevens had a perfect view of Elaine Thompson’s Olympic sweep. It just wasn’t what she wanted to be watching.

The Oregon sophomore finished seventh on Wednesday in the final of the women’s 200 meters at Olympic Stadium.

Stevens finished in 22.65 seconds, well behind Thompson, who held off a surge by the Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers to win her second gold medal of the week.

Thompson, who won the 100 on Saturday for Jamaica, ran a season-best 21.78 to a season-best 21.88 for Schippers.

American Tori Bowie finished third in 22.15. She also won silver in the 100.

“I wasn’t in the right head space,” Stevens said. “Usually in my races I feel more of an awareness, which I didn’t feel this race. It might have been a bit of nerves, but I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be. I was kind of calm but maybe I should’ve been more upbeat.”

It’s been a long season for Stevens, who competed for the first time at the Division I level and then all through the summer against world-class competition. Despite all those races, she said she felt fresh and ready to race on Wednesday.

“I don’t feel like I’m worn down,” Stevens said. “Once I got here I wasn’t really practicing that much, I was just kind of staying sharp, staying strong. Am I tired? Yeah, it’s been a long season. But I had that one more race and I’m happy with it.”

It’s been a long week for all three medalists as well. They each ran three rounds of both the 100 and 200 since Friday. Bowie admitted she was starting to feel the strain.

“I mentioned to my manager that I’m tired, and she said ‘Well you have to finish what you started,’” Bowie said. “That was my goal today to finish the best I could. I’m leaving with another medal and who can’t be thankful for another medal?”

Thompson, 24, is one of Jamaica’s rising stars, having won silver in the 200 at the World Outdoor Championships last summer and then World Indoor bronze in the 60 this past March.

On Saturday she dethroned two-time Olympic champion teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce with her victory in the 100.

“My school motto was ‘Let the light shine’ and I let my light shine tonight,” Thompson said. “It’s a big surprise to me because I have had a hamstring injury. You must overcome these things and tonight I am standing here with a gold. To beat Dafne Schippers is a hard run.”

Schippers wasn’t nearly as pleased.

“I came for gold,” said the former heptathlete turned sprinter. “I was in good form. My times were OK but they were not strong enough. It’s heavy to run six races. I was getting closer and closer. I felt I was nearly passing her, but then I broke down as well.”