Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is clearly the greatest female sprinter of all time. She is the first Caribbean woman to win the 100m dash in her maiden Olympics in 2008. Since then, she clinched an overwhelming three Olympic golds, eight World Championships crowns, and five silver medals across three events - 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay - to create a legacy of her sprinting career.
Now, at 35, she is set to defend her World Championships gold in Oregon. She has already sent out a warning to her sprint rivals by exploding the track with the season’s fastest timing - 10.67 seconds - on two occasions, most recently in June.
Nicknamed ‘Pocket Rocket’ for her diminutive stature, Fraser-Pryce was born and brought up in Waterhouse, an inner-city slum in the Jamaican capital of Kingston. Inspired by her mother, Maxine Simpson, a former sprinter, she took to sprinting at a young age.
Heading to the Olympics for the first time in 2008 in Beijing, she announced her arrival on the world stage by sweeping the event from heat to final. Her timing of 10.78s was then the second fastest in Olympic history behind Florence Griffith Joyner’s 1988 Olympic record, 10.49s.
From there onwards, Fraser-Pryce never looked back and defended her Olympic title in the London Olympics four years later. However, with the arrival of Elaine Thomspon-Herah, who won the gold in Rio, seemingly, there was a belief that Fraser-Pryce’s era was over.
But, to the surprise of her critics, Fraser-Pryce, now a mother, would make a comeback to win the 100m gold in the Doha World Championships in 2019.
Three years later, she is still the fastest woman of the year and 0.10s faster than second-fastest Shericka Jackson and 0.12s faster than third-fastest Thompson-Herah. It makes her a hot favourite for gold at the World Championships for a record fifth time.
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