To maintain a track career at the top of its game, it takes raw ability, good training and a drive that tops it all.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has that in spades and Sunday once again demonstrated her steely lust and sprinting prowess by winning a record fifth women’s 100m title.
“The secret to my success is that I am a competitor, I love to compete and I believe God has given me a gift,” the 35-year-old said.
At Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, she ran home with her trademark dyed flowing locks in a championship-best 10.67 seconds.
Her teammate Shericka Jackson took silver with a personal best 10.73 seconds, while four-time Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah took bronze (10.81).
What stands out is Fraser-Pryce’s winning time: that is, at 35, she bagged a fifth gold medal in a faster time than when it was won in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019.
No matter how you look at it, it’s an amazing achievement.
“I kind of feel special,” she said. “I always want to compete and show the work I’ve done.
“I am hardworking, enthusiastic, motivated and always eager to do more.
“It’s special, it’s my fifth world title in the 100m, and to do it at 35, yes I said 35!
“A lot of times people talk about my age or being a mother, but I think of it as part of the journey in life.
“And instead of viewing it as something that will affect me negatively, I view it as a positive experience.”
With her sights now firmly set on the women’s 200m, Fraser-Pryce fired a warning shot at her rivals as she eyed a sprint double.
“I really believe I can run faster and once I have that belief I’m not going to stop until I do,” said the Jamaican.
– ‘I trusted myself’ –
“I’ve always trusted myself and my coach and believed in my abilities and once I’m healthy I’ll still be competing.”
Fraser-Pryce said the Jamaican sweep’s predictions were well founded.
“It was definitely something on the cards!” she says. “I’m glad I was the one to finish first in the sweep and I’m glad the other ladies came through and we got to celebrate the 1-2-3.”
It was the first time a nation had won the women’s 100m medals at the world championships.
“It’s the third 1-2-3 I’ve been in and I’m so excited. Today I was able to get the win.
“I feel blessed to have this talent and to continue to do so at 35, to have a baby, still on the way, and hopefully to inspire women to go on their own journey.”
One of the first athletes to congratulate Fraser-Pryce was American Allyson Felix, who retired from competition with a 19th world medal, a bronze, in the 4×400 mixed relay in Eugene.
“35 years old! A mom! 10.67! 5th world title! Yessss @realshellyannfp it’s your night!!!” tweeted Felix, a leading advocate for female athlete rights.
Fraser-Pryce reacted by saying that she “just hoped that I would add inspiration like Allyson to show women that you can be successful after 30, you are not limited by anything.
“And I know, especially for shoe companies, that they like to think that when women get to a certain age they want to throw them away, but I’m grateful to show women that it can be done.”
There will now be a more subdued celebration for Fraser-Pryce with his family, who avoid the razzmatazz of the blue ribbon athletics event.
“My husband and son were in the stands, but oddly enough they don’t really like the spotlight, so they sit up high so no one sees them.”