Elaine Thompson-Herah Healthy Ahead Of 2024 Outdoor Season Opener And Recent Coaching Switch

By Anderson Emerole

March 23, 2024

KINGSTON – CITIUS MAG is on-site in Jamaica with PUMA ahead of Champs, Jamaica’s high school championships and its biggest national sporting event. After an early morning track session, we spoke with reigning 100m and 200m Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Five months ago, she decided to switch coaches and start working with Reynaldo Walcott, who has also worked with three-time Olympic gold medalist and 10-time world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce since 2020. Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce were also training partners under Stephen Francis. Thompson-Herah was with Francis until after the Tokyo Olympics and was briefly coached by her husband, Derron, before training under Shanikie Osbourne. The split with Osbourne reportedly came due to pay reasons.

Thompson-Herah is looking to recapture her form from 2021 and 2022. Last year, she failed to make the Jamaican 100m and 200m team for the World Championships in Budapest but competed in the preliminary heats of the 4x100m relay. She managed to close out the season well with a 10.79 season’s best in the 100m Diamond League Final in Eugene in September.

In Paris, Thompson-Herah or Fraser-Pryce could become the first woman to win three Olympic gold medals in the 100m.

Here’s what Thompson-Herah had to say to CITIUS MAG in Kingston. The following has been edited lightly for clarity.

CITIUS MAG: We’re in 2024 and we’re approaching the Olympics. What’s your mindset like going into this year?

ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH: For me, the mindset is that I have to be strong and positive. You push out those negative thoughts and replace them with positivity. For me, it’s all about getting my workout done each day. Once I complete my workout, I just Hallelujah to Christ because I am happy that I can complete that. The focus for me is not to be over or under-confident but to always be confident. The key word for me every day is to just believe in myself.

CITIUS MAG: At the end of last year, you were consistent and got healthy again. How do you feel coming into this year knowing you have that health now?

ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH: I feel good. I just maintained that. It’s like when you have a car. You have to service the car. My duty is to make sure that my body is fine-tuned, serviced and always ready for the goal. I know the key focus is always to stay healthy. I don’t think it matters about the time right now. It matters about getting in each race and staying fit and healthy. Once I have that, the times will come after. Definitely, the aim is always to try to break a world record and defend my title. But my focus right now is to just stay fit, stay healthy and take it race by race – season by season.

CITIUS MAG: How has training felt the past couple of months?

ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH: It’s felt great. My schedule has changed. Different system. Different coach. I’m trying to be accustomed to that. I think I am in a good place right now and I am really happy about that.

CITIUS MAG: Is there any pressure that you feel going into an Olympic year?

ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH: The only pressure that comes is when I’m having an injury. The pressure is trying to say, ‘Oh! How do I fix this injury fast to make it to the Olympics?’ To make it to the Olympics, we have to go through our national trials. Once I have that ready, I’m good. But for now, I’m just staying focused and healthy.

CITIUS MAG: You shocked the world so many times. Have you ever shocked yourself with any of your performances?

ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH: I do shock myself. Because it’s not that you don’t believe in yourself or you don’t have confidence. It’s because of the setbacks you have and the struggles. Sometimes your body is not responding to the mind because most times I feel awful and when I do feel awful, it’s OK because then I get a fast time. I would not say that you’re not supposed to feel good because feeling good is fine. I think because your mind thinks too much when I think I’m in my worst race, it’s fast. I tell everybody that in Eugene I wasn’t feeling at my top. I wasn’t feeling good. I crossed the line and was like, ‘Oh no. I didn’t nail that start. I don’t think I started good – but I feel awful.’ But seeing 10.54, I was like, ‘OK! I need to feel awful more!’ Sometimes it’s not about feeling good. There’s nothing wrong with having nerves or having a little doubt. You don’t want to doubt yourself all the time. For me, I do shock myself all the time. I love shocking myself.’

CITIUS MAG: Do you feel like you’re going to shock yourself this year?

ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH: Let us see what happens.

Anderson Emerole

Anderson Emerole is an analyst and contributor to CITIUS MAG. He runs The Final Leg, a YouTube channel with up-to-date commentary on track and field news.