HEADBAND CHAMPIONS; ELAINE THOMPSON
For most of the superstar athletes in the world, their greatness was evident from an early age, their potential was a herald, but not for Elaine Thompson-Herah. A two-time Olympic champion with a love for flower headbands.
Born in Manchester Parish, Jamaica, into a deeply religious family with no real history or affinity with sports, Thompson was not a stand-out athlete in any discipline. However, as a child growing up, Thompson has described her earliest contact with sprinting, citing her love for cartoons and a handy trick to not forget what errand she was running. Raised by her grandmother, she always had to run errands for her to the nearest shop or market, and sprinting meant reaching the shops before she could forget the item to buy, and to make it back home quickly in time to catch her favourite cartoons.
One with a little rebellious spirit (like the rest and best of us), Thompson would partake in the Jamaican High School Championships, an event where the potential of stars such as Usain Bolt, Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce, and Yohann Blake, shone for all of Jamaica to see. Finishing fourth in the 100m at the championship, Thompson would be left out of her track and field team two years later, before being found by long time coach and eventual friend, Stephen Francis. Under Francis’ tough love and discipline, Thompson would break out internationally in 2015, with a scintillating performance at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. Pushing favourite and eventual winner, Dafne Schippers to the brink, Thompson would run 21.66, a personal best for her at 200m. Though the Jamaican team would win gold at the 4x100m relay, Thompson would set her sights on individual greatness. 2016 would cement her superstardom and place in history as she claimed gold in both the 100m and 200m at the Rio Olympics, making her the only woman alongside the legendary Florence Joyner Griffith, to capture gold in both events in the same Olympics. She is currently ranked third and second respectively, in the women’s 100m and 200m world rankings. She shares the Jamaican national sprint record at 10.70, alongside the incredible Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce.
At the launch of her own Nike collection back in 2017, Elaine Thompson talked about her love for headbands and what pivotal role the accessory plays in her career. Professional sports is a world where confidence and energy separate the best from the rest of the pack, and for Thompson, her confidence is deeply rooted in her style and three main accessories; her sneakers, spikes, and headband. She revealed that she personally picks out these three items, as they are part of her boost and confidence for every race. The now 28-year old’s headband of choice is flower headbands.
Injuries have kept her from performing at the level the world witnessed in Rio, but Thompson is returning to her best as the Olympics close in, and has already shown some remarkable performances in 2020, running a season-best 10.73s in July. Declaring her desire and motivation to retain her Olympic titles, Thompson is now an underdog, a position she is comfortable with and welcomes with relish and a flower headband.