Devon Dick | The Great Shelly-Ann
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce showed her greatness on Saturday when she failed to attain the so-far unattainable three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100m for women. Shelly-Ann's greatness was on display by the way she overcame adversity, handled disappointment, was humble in service, and expressed a mature understanding of God.
Having suffered with serious toe injury for the season, she was not expected to medal, according to the experts. Even after the race, one commentator said that Shelly-Ann would not be on the podium, thinking she had placed fourth. Shelly-Ann was in fact on the podium to collect her bronze medal, which is a major accomplishment in itself.
After winning the semi-final and destroying the confidence of 24-year-old Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers, she grimaced in great pain. To come back an hour and half later to do her season's best and claim a bronze showed determination, poise and greatness. By the way, whoever made the decision to run the final race 90 minutes after the semi-finals should be charged with crimes against humanity. Let us hope that the decision was not due to the dictates of television rights. Anyhow, Shelly-Ann persevered through pain, suffering and sacrifice to get a medal.
The mettle of Shelly-Ann was on display again in bouncing back from serious injury. On a previous occasion, she had bounced back from surgery.
The Bible states that the one who is great is the servant (Matthew 20:26). Did we see right that sometime after the 100m race, the gold medal winner, Elaine Thompson, took off her spikes and gave it to Shelly-Ann to carry, which she did? Did you notice Shelly-Ann giving Elaine the Jamaican flag to parade, hinting that it was her time to shine? She is a humble servant and it shows her greatness.
In addition, Shelly-Ann is great, based on her Christian maturity and her understanding of God. Too often, athletes only talk about God's will when they are victorious. However, Shelly-Ann was saying it was still God's will although she finished third. She showed that she was contented whether first, third or eighth.
HARD TO BE HUMBLE
Too many Christians believe that they are entitled to be the best rather than just giving of their best. We want to be healthy and wealthy all the time. Christianity is therefore a cloak for our desires, selfishness and arrogance. We want to be immune from danger and disappointment. We do not want to live a sacrificial life of giving our all and very best in service of God. We do not want to respect the laws of nature or the laws of the nation.
Shelly-Ann's statement was not a show but came from her personality. Her warm and gracious smile in placing third was similar to that when she wins.
And Elaine Thompson is following in her footsteps. She was humble in victory and wanted Shelly-Ann to share in her moment. She was happy to see her training partner get a medal.
Then there is the great coach, Stephen Francis, who must be finding it hard to be humble. He had three athletes in the 100m finals. In addition, he strategised well in not making Elaine compete in the World Championships 100m while armchair pundits were crucifying him. Those who have left his ranks did not do so well. It is obvious that he is the Jamaican coach who has coached most medallists and finalists.
Shelly-Ann and Stephen both deserve to receive the honour of the Order of Jamaica this October.
Well done, good and humble, faithful servants.
- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.