In her own words, World 200 metres champion Shericka Jackson said her Tokyo Olympics disappointment in the half-lap event was the foundation for the relentless pursuit of her first individual major global title.
Jackson seized her moment on Thursday night in a championship and national record performance of 21.45 seconds, making her the second-fastest woman of all time in the 200m and putting her into the highest tier of sprinting in only her second season at the distance.
For her, it was also putting her first-round exit from the Tokyo Olympics behind her, an experience that wounded her but did not break her.
“I think that taught me so much last year. I never made it to my favourite event. It taught me that no matter what you must keep going. I think after the Olympic Games I cried so much because I wanted to be in the 200m final and it wasn’t meant to be at that moment,” Jackson said on Thursday in the post-race press conference. “I guess probably this is the moment (now).”
It was a moment that fuelled her path to redemption but also finally taught her a valuable lesson on the importance of perfecting her curve run, something she said was drilled relentlessly this season. The signs of that improvement showed this season when she beat double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson Herah in Italy on June 9 and again at the National Championships when she set the then-world-leading time of 21.55.
“I worked hard on the curve every day, every single day, and I think it paid off and I am just grateful,” Jackson said. “I knew that I could go faster than 21.55. I just wanted to execute the best race possible. The fastest woman alive, national record and a championship record I can’t complain.”
Five-time World 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who finished second in a season’s best of 21.81, said that Jackson’s championship is a valuable lesson in resilience.
“A lot of people allow disappointments to throw them off completely and they never bounce back. To be able to bounce back after a disappointment is remarkable and something that you can take for yourself when you see others bounce back from disappointment,” Fraser-Pryce said
Former World champion Dina-Asher Smith of Great Britain, who came third in 22.03, said that the times women are now clocking in the sprints represent a golden age which she is excited to be a part of.
“I think that we are in a golden era. It’s insane. I don’t think we have seen these times for decades but also we haven’t seen the depth and the fact that these times are coming from an assortment of women. I think it is so special,” Asher-Smith said.
Jackson said that she is enjoying the feeling of adding her name to the list of champions, a list that includes Fraser-Pryce, and Vere Technical alumnus Veronica Campbell-Brown and Merlene Ottey, the only other Jamaicans who have won the World 200m title.