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In addition to being ranked as one of the greatest athletes to come out of the twin-island republic, Thompson was hailed by his alma mater, Louisiana State University (LSU), as one who “will go down as arguably the greatest sprinter to ever wear the LSU uniform.” The amicable Thompson dominated collegiate track and field during his senior season in 2008 and was the first Tiger to sweep NCAA sprint titles in the 60m and 100m dashes that year. He was the first collegiate athlete to accomplish that feat since the American Justin Gatlin of the University of Tennessee in 2002.
That summer, Thompson, dubbed the Torpedo, represented T&T in his first Olympic Games, and became the first LSU athlete to win a medal in the 100m dash by grabbing silver in 9.89 behind Usain Bolt in a world-record 9.69. That race Thompson remembered with much humor nine months later when he was still amazed. “It was kinda like a full bus passing you,” he said, recalling how he was leading up to 30 meters when Bolt ran past him.
Thompson had entered the race with UNDERDOG tagged on him. But the Torpedo loved the challenge provided by a crack field, knowing well that his strength and endurance were underpinned by a number of 200m races on the college circuit that got him through the crucial qualifying rounds. He also anchored Trinidad’s 4x100m relay team to silver to top off a fine season.
At the 2009 Berlin Worlds, Thompson again anchored T&T to silver after escaping serious injuries in a car accident some eight months prior but managed only fifth in the 100m final in a season best 9.93. In August 2011, Thompson emerged the fastest man in his country, clocking 9.85s (+1.0) at the T&T Nationals, but he never made it to the World Championships final. In the sprint relay final, he had to dodge a crashing Doc Patten in that much publicized disaster at the third exchange.
The 28-yr-old Thompson is coached in California by John Smith, alongside 2011 World Championship women’s 100m gold medalist Carmelita Jeter and former men’s 110m hurdles World champion Jason Richardson.