Sat | Oct 19, 2019

ROCKET LANDS - Fraser-Pryce not caught up in labels as she basks in World Champs glow

Published:Wednesday | October 9, 2019 | 12:18 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce arriving at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston last night after winning two gold medals at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. See related stories in Section B.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce arriving at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston last night after winning two gold medals at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. See related stories in Section B.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce arriving back on home soil with championship medals is a sight that Jamaica has gotten used to.

But this particular homecoming was more poignant as the Jamaican sprinter arrived last night at the Norman Manley International Airport.

Bouncing back from giving birth to son Zyon two years ago, Fraser-Pryce stamped her class on the field in a world-leading 10.71 seconds at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, to cement her legendary status as arguably the greatest female sprinter of all time, notching an unprecedented fourth 100m title in the process.

She followed up that effort with another top-of-the-podium finish as part of the women’s 4x100m gold medal-winning team.

Pryce’s first competitive season after giving birth could not have gone any better, and her long journey back to the top of world sprinting has given her added confidence as she prepares for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“Well, this one is definitely memorable,” she told The Gleaner as she exited the airport last night. “Coming back from having my son and performing the way I did, I’m really happy for it.

“It’s been a long two years, but to be able to do what I did is definitely something that has given me a lot of confidence going forward and I [will continue] to work hard. I’m still having my eyes set on 2020.”

The latest addition to her glittering résumé led former Olympic and former World champion Michael Johnson to declare her as the best female athlete of all time.

“We need to put @realshellyannfp 100m career into perspective. 2x Olympic 100 champ. Only 2 other women have ever done that. 4x World Champ 100. No other woman has ever done that. And 100m is one of the most difficult events to repeat as champion! Undisputed G.O.A.T. (Greatest of all time),” Johnson tweeted after the 100 metres final last week Sunday.

But Fraser-Pryce isn’t worried about her eventual place in the annals of female sprinting or the many accolades from track and field fans and experts.

“I’m one of those sprinters that don’t get really caught up in the greatest sprinter of all time,” she said. “I’m just more focused on performing at my best and making sure that every time that I step on the track, that I give of my best, 100 per cent.

“It’s so weird. I don’t get caught up with those other stuff. I’m more focused, just continuing to work hard and continuing to put my best foot forward and superseding my own expectations.”

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com