When an eight-time Olympic winner gives assurances that anything is possible, take heed…anything is possible.
Jamaican sprinter Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce knows from experience running on the world stage in the 60 metres, 100 metres and 200 metres races.
An acclaimed super-achiever from global performances at multiple Olympics in Beijing, China, London, England, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and most recently at the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan she said this year’s will be her last.
Through all the medal-winning showcases, the Jamaican Golden Girl always ran away a winner.
She amassed a whopping nine gold and two silver medals in World Championship competitions held in Osaka, Japan; Berlin, Germany; Daegu, South Korea; Doha, Qatar; Moscow, Russia and Beijing, China
However, the world seemed to really take notice during her 2008 Olympic debut in China when as a member of the triumvirate to sweep the 100metres dash mined gold to become the first-ever female from the Caribbean to claim the coveted prize.
Four years later, in Europe back to back victory cemented the Golden Girl title she honed previously as fastest woman in the world.
On her return home, her hand luggage also included two silver medals from London representing podium positions for the 200metres and 4×100 relay.
South America was where she clocked second and third place finishes to garner a haul which included silver and a bronze.
Last week she returned home from Asia carrying two precious metals – silver and gold.
Since her 2008 outing in the Far East, Shelly Ann has been regaled coupling with Usain Bolt as the speediest genders on earth, the “Pocket Rocket” and aligned with anything pertaining to speed.
She was not born that way but with perseverance, hard work, and diligence emerged a champion her country rewarded with the Order of Distinction, the third highest honor in the country.
Married to Jason with a four-year-old son named Zyon, the 100 metres speed mobile has often inspired many by talking about her journey.
Raised in the less-than-affluent Waterhouse community in Kingston, the eldest of three siblings knew she was special.
She said she was always fast.
“As tiny as I was. I was also fast and I loved to run.
“I ran to school.
I ran to shop
“I ran like a rocket
I ran to be free.
I ran everywhere”
That’s what the now eighth time Olympic champion penned in a book for children titled “I Am A Promise.”
Simply written she tells a compelling story about running faster than any of her friends.
“As I grew older and entered big school, I kept running and running and training hard because that’s what I loved to do…”
Jamaicans refer to high school as ‘big school’ and the place ambitious and talented youths get their first chance at tested competition.
Each year, there’s a showdown between high schoolers called Champs.
Actually the Boys and Girls Championships attract spectators of all ages.
It is there most test their mettle.
If worthy a few are chosen to compete against age-similar high school track stars from the Caribbean and the USA at the Penn Relays in Pennsylvania.
Shelly Ann was more than worthy.
She represented Wolmers High School and her island-nation.
In fact, her participation signaled the beginning of a promise fulfilled.
The book states that in addition to loving the thrill of sports, she also enjoyed her grandmother and others giving encouragement to her aspiration of become a sprint star.
She was told of her unique talent and that she was a promise — a promise of greatness for the island.
In the book she explained that prior to any race, nerves often got in the way. However, her coach would remind her “you represent the promise of our country, go show the world what this promise is.”
In the summer of 2021, during her fourth Olympics, 34-year-old Shelly Ann surpassed the promise and dreams of greatness.
She won another gold medal for anchoring the third leg in the 4×100 relay.
The now renamed self-titled “Mommy Rocket” also won silver for her second place finish in the 100 metres sprint race when her fellow nationals clocked first and third.
“I ran for my country,
I ran for my friends and family,
I ran like a rocket,
I ran to be free,
But most important of all, I ran my best because that was a promise to me.”
Shelley Ann’s colorful book provides fun-filled reading children will delight in exploring.
Illustrated by Rachel Moss, vivid images of her triumphs in runaway races will entice any child, athletic or not.
That indelible photograph of her winning smile while hoisting the Jamaican flag could provide teachable moment about nationalism, pride and victory.
Published by Black Sheep/Akashic Books, hardcover and e-books are the trophies children will recall as primers of their summer season.
Catch You On The Inside!