Recipient: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
Ask Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce what it was like for her being an athlete in 2019 and she will tell you it was not at all easy. However, she certainly did make it look that way, given the year she had.
Fraser-Pryce, at 32 years old, claimed three major global medals, consisting of two gold, in the 100m and 4x100m events at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, and a bronze at the World Athletics Relay Championships in the 4x200m in Yokohama, Japan. She also claimed a major regional gold, the 200m title, at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, last summer.
While winning multiple medals is nothing unusual or unique for Fraser-Pryce, her accomplishments in 2019 stood out even more because they were achieved while balancing her time as an athlete with mothering her two-year-old son, Zyon.
Fraser-Pryce, or ‘Mommy-Rocket’ as she is now nicknamed by her fans, described that balance as challenging but enjoyable.
“It’s time-consuming and some days it can be exhausting,” Fraser-Pryce told The Gleaner. “Some days it’s mixed. Now that I have a son, I’m competing but there’s now a little bit more joy in the competition than before. Not that I wasn’t having fun before, but if I cross the line and things weren’t going how I wanted them to, I may be a bit disappointed, but that’s it. Now I have somebody that has my total concentration and focus. So, it makes it a little easier and more fun.”
Opening her season with times of 11.20 and 10.97 seconds in the 100m, Fraser-Pryce put the world on notice that she was back to her best after her pregnancy and that she was to be considered one of the favourites for gold in Doha, Qatar.
However, she would have to overcome the threat posed by MVP Track Club teammate Elaine Thompson-Herah. Thompson-Herah pipped her to the line in both sprint distances at the National Trials but three months later, Fraser-Pryce proved too good for all challengers at the Khalifa International Stadium when she took the 100m gold in 10.71 seconds, just a hundredth of a second off the national record.
RECIPES FOR SUCCESS
Fraser-Pryce wanted to become the first woman to win three Olympic gold medals in the 100m at the Rio Games in 2016, but a toe injury meant she could only claim bronze. Interestingly, she credits that occurrence for the grit and determination which she says were recipes for success in 2019.
“Sometimes, in life, you don’t know what each season is teaching you, but you just have to go through the season and you have to be mentally prepared to go through, no matter what,” she said in an interview with Nuffin’ Long Athletics in September 2019. “I think 2016 was that year that mentally tested me. Even in training, I cried, I was angry, I was upset, I didn’t know what to do, but I was able to put it all together and still come away with a bronze medal.”
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, this year’s recipient of the RJRGLEANER Honour Award in the category of Sport, has dominated all in her field in 2019. She has done so in a way that has continued to inspire women locally and internationally to use whatever challenges they face as motivation to overcome and achieve.
While she faced worthy opponents, who may have intimidated a lesser athlete, she remained resolute in her hunger for success and carried herself with class and dignity throughout her lengthy season. She remains a sterling example for Jamaica’s next generation of sprinters to emulate.
* Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce says she is “not the best 200m runner” but will not back away from the event, unlike the 400m, which she despises.
* She prefers to run the second leg (backstretch) of the 4x100m relay.
* The sprint star decided to join MVP Track Club after running into and being convinced by coach Paul Francis at a local fast food restaurant on a late night in 2006.
* She holds a bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development from the University of Technology, Jamaica.
* Mommy-Rocket is joint national 100m record holder with Elaine Thompson at 10.70 seconds.
* She is the first Jamaican woman to win 100m gold at the Olympic Games.
* She is the only four-time 100m World Champion (2009, 2013, 2015, and 2019).
* She became Jamaica’s first UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2010.
* Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce wants to be the first woman to win three Olympic 100m gold medals.
* She wants to run sub 22.00 seconds in the 200m.
* The world star intends to run 10.60 seconds in the 100m.