Fraser-Pryce, ‘Franno’ inspired Jackson
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
Olympic 400m bronze medal winner Shericka Jackson has pointed to her MVP Track Club teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and coach Stephen Francis as her biggest inspirations, after her third-place finish inside the Olympic Stadium on Monday night.
Jackson, 22, showed that her bronze medal at last year's IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, was not a fluke, with a mature run out of lane five, posting 49.85 seconds to finish behind gold medal winner, Shaunae Miller, from the Bahamas, who ran a personal best 49.44, with American Allyson Felix, 49.51, taking the silver.
The Jamaican shared that watching Fraser-Pryce compete in the 100m and winning bronze, despite suffering considerable pain because of an injured toe, and a conversation they had before the National Senior Championships, pushed her to go out and give everything she had in the final.
"I had a little doubt at first, but before the national trials, Shelly-Ann (Fraser-Pryce) spoke to me about getting there (medal podium) again. I was disappointed when I left Beijing last year because I wanted to run faster, so this time around I wanted to run much faster, and I did that, so I am grateful," said Jackson.
Before the trials, Jackson had struggled to post good times, going below 51 seconds only once. In fact, she only went below 51 seconds a total of two times before arriving in Rio de Janeiro, but took her personal best from 49.99 seconds - which she ran in the World Championships final last year - to 49.83 seconds, which she posted in the semi-final round here.
"My coach told me that I would run fast here. I get a lot of mental strength from him. He pushed me at our camp in Italy. He always knew I could do it, but did I?
"He (Francis) is a genius! He is a patient person and he knows when to peak an
athlete and how to approach going into a championships," Jackson added, before admitting she is beginning to become more convinced of her abilities as a 400m athlete.
"Yea, I think I am beginning to forget my love for the 200m," she laughed.
"It's still at the back of my mind, but I'm feeling more like a quarter-miler now so I will stick to it."
She continued: "I don't like to lose; if I do, I can stand it, but that pushes me as well. My family also motivates me a lot," said Jackson, who yesterday collected her medal on what was also her father's birthday.
Jackson became only the third Jamaican - after Shericka Williams (Beijing 2008) and Lorraine Graham (2000) - to win a women's 400m medal at the Olympic Games.