It was a Jamaican clean sweep on the podium with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in second and Shericka Jackson taking the bronze.
On a hot, humid night in Tokyo, Thompson-Herah bettered Florence Griffith Joyner’s 33-year-old Olympic record of 10.62, while also defending the Olympic title she won in 2016.
The celebrations started even before she had crossed the line, pointing with her left arm and screaming in delight.
Was Griffith Joyner’s world record of 10.49 a possibility? “Most definitely, if I wasn’t celebrating,” Thompson-Herah told reporters, and when asked again about the world record, she added: “I’m still working, it’s a work in progress … Anything is possible.”
The victory was the 29-year-old’s third Olympic gold medal, adding to her 100m and 200m titles in Rio five years ago and emulating compatriot Fraser-Pryce’s feat from 2008 and 2012 of successfully defending the 100m title.
Another Jamaican, Usain Bolt, famously won three consecutive Olympic 100m gold medals, and Thompson-Herah now has a chance to do the same in Paris in three years’ time.
“Behind this 10.6 was a lot of nerves, and I said: ‘You can do this, you’ve been here before, just execute,'” she said.
“I have more years. I’m just 29; I’m not 30, I’m not 40. I’m still working.”
With fans kept away from Olympic events in Tokyo amid the pandemic, the final was held in the near-empty surroundings of the 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium.
As athletes were introduced ahead of the race, the stadium lights were turned off and the track was illuminated with the names of each competitor — a dazzling start to a race that, given the fast times produced in the heats and semifinals, promised great drama.
It duly delivered as Thompson-Herah went neck-and-neck with Fraser-Pryce at the halfway point before pulling away in the final stages.
Defending world champion Fraser-Pryce — who clocked 10.74 — now has two golds, a silver, and a bronze in the 100m across four Olympic Games, while Jackson — third in 10.76 — adds to her 4x400m silver and 400m bronze from Rio.
Asked about the celebrations that will likely ensue in Jamaica, Fraser-Pryce said: “I’m hoping they’re not defying the curfew orders, but I’m sure it’s going to be remarkable to have three of our ladies stand on the podium like we did in 2008, it’s incredible.
“I’m hoping that they’re celebrating with a lot of positive energy, and they’re celebrating each and every one of the athletes and just continue to support us. There’s a long way to go — we have the 200m and 4x100m.”