Legendary sprint champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, was awarded titles in two categories in the Best of Jamaica 2022 survey. The Olympian was voted “Jamaican Person of the Year” and “Jamaican Sport Personality of the Year” for 2022 through the survey conducted by Jamaicans.com, the leading media platform for Jamaican and Caribbean news, travel, food, and culture.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1986, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce displayed her talent for sprinting from an early age, running barefoot while in primary school. During her time as a student at Wolmer’s High School for Girls, she was an active participant in youth athletics programs and competed at the popular “Champs” (Inter-Secondary Schools Boys and Girls Championships) tournament. At the age of 16, she won a bronze medal in the 100-event. In 2002, she was instrumental in bringing Jamaica’s junior team a victory in the 4×100-meter relay at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in Barbados and won the 200-meter title at the Jamaican Under-18 Championships with a time of 25.35 seconds.
While at the University of Technology in Jamaica, she met Stephen Francis, who was the head coach at the MVP Track Club and was a guiding force in the career of Asafa Powell, the former men’s 100-meter world record holder. Fraser-Pryce’s real success began in 2007 when she took fifth place in the 100 meters at the Jamaican National Senior Championships with a new personal best time of 11.31 seconds. Her performance resulted in her selection as a reserve athlete for the national 4×100-meter relay team. Her breakthrough occurred in 2008 at the Jamaican Olympic Trials when she surprised everyone by coming in second in the 100-meter final with a time of 10.85 seconds, the first time she ran the distance in under 11 seconds.
Since then, Fraser-Pryce has continued to astound and impress the world with her speed. She is considered one of the greatest and most enduring track athletes of all time with a career that has spanned some 20 years. Fraser-Pryce competes in the 60-meter, 100-meter, and 200-meter events, but the 100 meters in her signature race. She holds two Olympic gold medals in the 100 meters and five World Championship titles. Overall, she has won eight Olympic medals and is the first woman from the Caribbean to win Olympic gold in the 100 meters. Thirteen years after winning her first Olympic medal, she won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, which made her the first athlete to win a 100-meter medal at four consecutive Olympic Games. Fraser-Pryce, also known as the “Pocket Rocket” because of her petite body size and her rapid starts, was named IAAF World Athlete of the Year in 2013. She won the world indoor 60-meter title in 2014, thereby becoming the first woman athlete to achieve world titles simultaneously in all four sprint events.
Fraser-Pryce has dominated women’s sprinting during her career, winning more international titles in the 100 meters than any other woman in history. She has more medals than any other sprinter to date at the World Athletics Championships, with five world 100-meter titles, ten gold medals, and four silver medals. In 2019, Fraser-Pryce became the first mother to win a global 100-meter title in 24 years, and in 2022, at age 35, she became the oldest sprinter to win a world championship title. Her personal best time of 10.60 seconds in the 100-meters ranks her as the third-fastest woman in history. World Athletics called her the “greatest female sprinter of her generation,” and many media sources call her the greatest female sprint in history. She was listed by the BBC among the 100 most inspiring and influential women in the world in 2019.
Photo – Shelly-Ann-Fraser-Pryce