Fraser-Pryce: The 'village' helped me to achieve success

By October 15, 2018
Fraser-Pryce (centre) her mother Maxine (right) and Sports Minister Olivia Grange at the unveiling of the statue in Fraser-Pryce's honour at Jamaica's national stadium complex on Sunday. Fraser-Pryce (centre) her mother Maxine (right) and Sports Minister Olivia Grange at the unveiling of the statue in Fraser-Pryce's honour at Jamaica's national stadium complex on Sunday.

Two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce said her achievements would not have been possible without the help of ‘the village’ – from her mother to her primary school teacher to her coach.

The seven-time world champion was speaking at the unveiling of a statue in her honour on a rainy Sunday evening at the National Stadium Complex.

Fraser-Pryce’s statue is the second of four commissioned by the Jamaican government, honouring its greatest track and field athletes of the modern era. A statue of Usain Bolt was unveiled in December 2017. Statues of two-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and former world-record holder Asafa Powell are to be mounted in the coming months.

 Over the last decade, Fraser-Pryce established herself not only as one of the fastest women in the history of the sport but also one of its most accomplished.

In 2008, she became the first Jamaican woman to win a 100m gold medal at the Olympic Games and in 2009, the first to hold the 100m Olympic and World titles simultaneously following her victory in Berlin, Germany, in a new national record of 10.73s.

The time broke the longstanding record held by Merlene Ottey.

In 2013 in Moscow, she became the first woman to win three sprint gold medals - the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay – at a World Championships.

Her national record of 10.70 that she shares with Elaine Thompson makes her the fourth-fastest woman in history.

None of it, she said, would have been possible with the input of many people.

“This day would not be possible without my village. I reflect on the resilience of a single mother, Maxine, who did the best she could with what she had. She made miracles out of the ordinary things. The generosity of my primary school Teacher, Ms Edwards at George Headley Primary, who gifted me my very first pair of spikes,” she told the large gathering who listened attentively even as the rain fell in buckets.

“The foresight of Jeanne Coke, Past President of The Wolmer’s Girls Alumni, (now deceased) who looked into the future and saw global athletic success for a little girl from Ashoka Road in Waterhouse. She saw way above what I ever could have imagined for myself. My village included the nurturing environment of The Wolmer’s High School for Girls.

“Many persons played an important role in my overall development as a student-athlete. With the help of Coach (Michael) Carr’s training and the sheer will to be the best, I worked for a better life on the track and inside the classroom. This classroom was to prepare me for the hard work of international athletics.”

She praised the vision of her coach Stephen Francis and her manager Bruce James as well as her agent Adrian Laidlaw for the work they put in to ensure her professional success.

“I Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce the double Olympic gold medalist that stands before you today, is a living witness of the global power of brand Jamaica Athletics and training. There is no easy road or shortcut to true athletic greatness.”

She did not forget her husband Jason and her church community as well as the Jamaican government, her sponsors Nike, Grace Kennedy and Digicel closing with the wish that her success can be an example for others to follow.

“It is my hope that this statue will serve as a testament to the fact that where you come from and how you start life are only part of the story. What you do with what God has given you the ability to do is more important. Do not be limited by your history, instead, let us make history.”

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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