The women’s 100m race at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games was tailor-made and well-scripted for Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. After all, Fraser-Pryce won 100m Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Olympics Games and was poised to make history by becoming the first female athlete to win three consecutive 100m Olympic titles. But a toe injury has severely hampered the Stephen Francis-trained Fraser-Pryce. Her season was marred with sub-par performances, but the Pocket Rocket, as she is affectionately called, chose the biggest stage of the 2016 season to run a season best of 10.86 seconds (+0.5mps) to take the bronze medal behind countrywoman Elaine Thompson (10.71) and American Torie Bowie (10.83).
Fraser-Pryce’s attitude and demeanor during the post-race celebration was admirable and delightful. Despite her disappointment in not achieving the Olympic triple, she was gracious in defeat. She embraced her fellow medalists and was an obviously calming influencing on her heir-apparent, Elaine Thompson, who was winning her first global title.
Fraser-Pryce will go down as one of the greatest female sprinters in history after winning her fourth individual Olympic medal (she won gold in the 100m in Beijing and London and a silver in the 200m in London 2012). Armed with a 10.70 seconds lifetime best in the 100m, Fraser-Pryce, the Jamaican flag-bearer in Rio, also has to her credit, four world championship titles
Off the Track
Fraser-Pryce on the track dominance is well-documented and has captured the hearts of track fans worldwide since she her Olympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But her off-the-track influence may be felt years and decades after she hangs up her spikes. Through her Pocket Rocket Foundation, Fraser-Pryce, who grew up in the rough neighborhood of Waterhouse in Kingston, has made a conscious effort to give back. Her Pocket Rocket Foundation has offer scholarships and assistance to numerous youth in Jamaica. Fraser-Pryce, like Usain Bolt, has used her star status in athletics to encourage and impact her community. Success on the track means success and attention to her Pocket Rocket Foundation.
While we take the time to acknowledge Fraser-Pryce’s contribution and success on and off the track, there are still more medals to be won. Fraser-Pryce, the warrior from Kingston, will now turn her attention to the 4x100m relays, where her Jamaican team is favored to win the gold medal.
Edited by Raymond Byfield
Picture: Fraser-Pryce at the 2014 adidas Grand Prix New York (Photo by O'Neil A. Reid)