'I thought that was it' - Fraser-Pryce says positive test left her clueless, thanks GraceKennedy for support

Published: Thursday | December 5, 2013 Comments 0
From left: Don Wehby, CEO, GraceKennedy Group, World and Olympic gold medallist, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Courtney Campbell, CEO, GraceKennedy Financial Group, laugh while sitting at the head table during yesterday's expansion of her contract with the company as its brand ambassador. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer
From left: Don Wehby, CEO, GraceKennedy Group, World and Olympic gold medallist, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Courtney Campbell, CEO, GraceKennedy Financial Group, laugh while sitting at the head table during yesterday's expansion of her contract with the company as its brand ambassador. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

 André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce opened up about her 2010 anti-doping violation and her appreciation for the support of sponsors GraceKennedy Group, as she and the company celebrated an expanded partnership at the conglomerate's Harbour Street headquarters yesterday.

GraceKennedy Group announced the addition of GraceKennedy Financial Group (GKFG) brands First Global Bank and Western Union to her endorsement portfolio.

She has been pushing several of the company's food brands, including Vienna sausages.

After first signing to the company in 2008, Fraser-Pryce lauded GraceKennedy for sticking by her during the controversy and underlined the partnership's impact on her own personal growth.

"Being a part of the Grace-Kennedy family has definitely given me the strength and courage to just understand that I have so many persons who believe in me, who believe that if you work hard and stay committed to what it is that you want to achieve, then you will get there," said Fraser-Pryce, after receiving a special First Global platinum visa card and a citation - read by corporate communications manager and madam of ceremony - Simone Clarke-Cooper.

"I started this relationship in 2008, and it has been a journey that I would live over and over again because it has been one of those that has shaped the person that I am today," added Fraser-Pryce, who only recently renewed her endorsement deal with GraceKennedy.

She received a six-month ban in 2010 after testing positive for the substance oxycodone, which is on the prohibited list despite not containing performance-enhancing or masking properties.

"In 2010, I thought that was it when it came to Shelly-Ann; that I wouldn't survive," said Fraser-Pryce in reference to her anti-doping violation. "I didn't know that I could actually bounce back from what happened because I was new to the sport, I was new to being a professional athlete."

The World Championships double sprint champion and IAAF World Female Athlete of the Year spoke of her first conversations with her mother after the incident and shared the details of a subsequent meeting she had with GraceKennedy's top brass.

"I asked (MVP Track Club president Bruce James) what would happen and wondered if they (GraceKenendy) would believe, but it was that simple. I honestly had a toothache, took a pain medication, went to run and ran terribly and I came back and all of this happened," said Fraser-Pryce.

"I met with Mr Don Wehby and Mr Douglas Orane and I remembered saying what I had to say. Today, here I am again and with four more years to go and of course, a big thank you to Mr Wehby and the group for putting that trust in me and having that confidence, giving me that extra strength to stand when I needed it," she added.

Courtney Campbell, CEO, GKFG, was satisfied with Fraser-Pryce's decision to extend their relationship.

"We consider Shelly-Ann to be a member of the family, and I am really pleased that she has decided to represent even more of our brands," Campbell said.

"Since 2008, she has represented us locally and internationally and earlier this year, she renewed her contract as our brand ambassador, but now, we are including some companies in the GraceKennedy Financial Group, namely First Global Bank and GraceKennedy Money Services," he added.


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