Legendary Jamaican sprint star, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce continues to defy her age and the odds — not ready to hang up her sprinting shoes.
The 34-year-old added an Olympic silver to her extensive medal collection over the summer, but she told the UK-based SkySports that she is not ready to put her feet up just yet.
“Listen, I’m lining up with young athletes, athletes that have just started,” Fraser-Pryce,” she said. “And I’m still on top of the game, so why stop there? Why not take it to the next level?
“When you’re a young girl like me growing up in Waterhouse in Kingston, you’re kind of conditioned to think nothing good comes from where you’re from,” Fraser-Pryce added. “You have that mindset for a while until you start to have people that pour into you in a positive way, and you start to actually believe the things that they are saying about you, and it changes everything.
“In 2007, I went to the World Championships as a reserve, I wasn’t even there to run; and I remember being there, and they called on me to run and I was like ‘no, I’m not running,’” she continued. “I was crying because I didn’t want to run! “It was so much pressure and I didn’t want to make any mistakes —but that’s the fear of not feeling qualified for that call.”
SkySports noted that Fraser-Pryce won Olympic sprint relay gold in Tokyo to add to her collection of four world relay gold medals.
“I went and ran the heat, I was so nervous, I remember the crowd and everything,” she said. “We made the finals and we got a silver medal, and I was so excited for that medal that I went home and I decided I wanted a medal for myself.
“I finally believed what all of those people had been saying,” she added. “It’s not necessarily about proving people wrong, but proving yourself right, that you belong.”
Fourteen years on, SkySports said Fraser-Pryce is the dominant force of female sprinting.
It said her extensive medal collection boasts nine World Championship golds and two Olympic 100m individual sprint titles.
Fraser-Pryce added Olympic 100m silver to that collection, finishing behind compatriot Elaine Thompson-Herah in the sprint final in Tokyo, but finished the season with a personal best of 10.60s, the third-fastest time in history, SkySports said.
“Looking back at the 2021 season it was mixed,” she said. “I had a lot of highs and I had some lows, and you know I had the lows where I didn’t want to have them.
“At the Olympics I was in great shape,” she added. “I was definitely hoping to run so much better; and I knew I could, but it just shows how the 100m is so fast and there’s no room for error.
“I’m at the peak of my career,” Fraser-Pryce said. “It’s so mind-blowing that I think I owe it to myself, I owe it to the next generation of women that will come after me and those that are still here, to push this to another level.
“I said to my husband and my coach,” she added. “It’s so strange because I’ve heard of people when they are about to retire they say they’re feeling so much pain. And while you understand their journey, I’m looking at it like, I still feel good! And if I feel good, why not go for it?”