Fraser-Pryce hoping to inspire fans... Sprinter looking to help restore faith in troubled sport
Ryon Jones, Gleaner Reporter
On Saturday two-time reigning Olympic champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, established a new world lead in the women's 100m of 10.77 seconds in the semi-final round at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games.
She went on to finish fourth in the final with a time of 10.94 seconds, but believes it is performances such as her semi-final run that are needed to change the focus from the most recent spate of failed drug tests affecting the sport.
Fraser-Pryce's MVP Track Club teammates Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, as well as compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown and American Tyson Gay, have all failed drug tests in recent times, casting a cloud of doubt over the sport.
"Hopefully for the rest of the athletes who are here, we continue to inspire the fans to come out and support and we can do our best," Fraser-Pryce told noted track and field website Flotrack.
The sprinter, who also took silver in the 200m at the 2012 London Olympics, earlier this month walked out of a press conference along with American Carmelita Jeter, after they were asked questions relating to the failed tests by their compatriots.
She decided, however, to face up to the issue over the weekend, expressing empathy for the embattled athletes.
"Those things happen (positive test results) and it's unfortunate that it happened," Fraser-Pryce reasoned. "I'm in the sport and I understand that I cannot speak for the athletes who are involved. At the same time, I know it's painful and I know how they must be feeling, because two or three years ago, I took a painkiller."
The Jamaican women's 100m record holder (10.70) had herself served a six-month ban in 2010 after testing positive for Oxycodone.
Her explanation was that she had taken a painkiller to relieve a toothache and was not aware of the banned substance it contained. She was given the painkiller by MVP Track Club head coach Stephen Francis.
"It was devastating even though it wasn't a performance enhancer; it was just a painkiller, so I can understand what they're going through," Fraser-Pryce said. "We never know. Each person's circumstances are way different. We don't know what's behind the scenes and of course we wait for due process."