At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, Elaine Thompson-Herah became the first Jamaican woman and the seventh woman ever to win the 100/200m double at the same Olympic Games.

If she has her way, if the Olympics are held in Tokyo next year, she will be in a pantheon of one- the only female sprinter to successfully defend an Olympic sprint double at the same Olympics.

She believes it is possible but it depends on one key factor.

“(Being) healthy is key because when I am healthy I am in the best shape of my life, I don’t think I have reached that yet. I just want to maintain that health. I really want to capture back my double at the Olympics,” she said while speaking on the Drive Phase Podcast with host Dalton Myers.

“I want to retain my titles.”

When she won the sprint double in Rio, the achievement thrust her into the global spotlight as one of the greatest-ever female sprinters and made her a national treasure in a country known for athletic icons like Herb McKenley, Donald Quarrie, Merlene Ottey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt.

However, unlike Fraser-Pryce and Bolt, Thompson-Herah has so far failed to build on that legacy. Injury and illness robbed her of possible gold medals at the 2017 World Championships in London and again at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, where she finished fourth in the 100m final, having gone into the meet with the joint fastest time in the world.

She said she doesn’t intend to dwell on those disappointments and will continue to work hard, hoping that that elusive World Championships gold medal will soon be hanging from her neck.

Meantime, she has other goals in mind.

 “I still want to get below that 10.7 barrier,” said the woman who shares Jamaica’s national record of 10.70 with two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

“I think I have it in me. It’s just about the time for it to come.”

She also believes she can go faster than her 200m 21.66 PB set in 2015 when she won the silver medal at the World Championships in Beijing, China.

“Once I am healthy anything is possible,” she said.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce says she is not yet ready to explain her coaching situation.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce said she was excited after running another world-leading time in the 100m at the Velocity Fest meeting at the National Stadium on Saturday in what could probably be her final race of the season.

Had it not been for the pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would have been done and dusted 10 days ago and sports fans across the world would still be gathering around water coolers and office enclosures buzzing about the spectacular show put on by the world’s greatest athletes.

With an eye fixed a sprint-double campaign at what would be her final Olympic Games set for Tokyo next year, two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was encouraged by her performance at the Velocity Fest 4 and 5 meets held at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce pipped the fourth Velocity Fest 100 metres at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica on Saturday with a quick 10.87-second-clocking, just ahead of Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Fraser-Pryce won section two of the event, getting the better of Sashalee Forbes, 11.20, and Kasheika Cameron, 11.56.

Thompson-Herah won section three of the event, clocking an equally quick 10.88 seconds to get the better of Natasha Morrison, 11.25, and Anthonique Strachan, 11.46.

When all the times were collated, Fraser-Pryce led from Thompson-Herah, while Forbes was third overall.

Coming into the race, Fraser-Pryce had clocked 11.28, while Thomson-Herah had 11.41.

In the men’s event, the returning Nesta Carter clocked 10.20 to win section 5, just ahead of Oshane Bailey, 10.24.

Carter’s sectional win was only good enough for second, as Tyquendo Tracey’s 10.20 in section four, saw him finish just ahead, while Romario Williams’ 10.21 and second place in that heat saw him third overall.

With two Olympic 100m titles, four World Championship 100m titles and a 200m title, and a World Indoor title among 18 global medals, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has had a legendary career. However, it took a trip to the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan to light the flame that propelled her to success.

“I came back home with a fire,” the 33-year-old icon told former Miss Jamaica Universe and Miss Universe runner-up Yendi Phillips on Phillips’ YouTube show Odyssey.

In the video that has so far garnered almost 55,000 views, Fraser-Pryce revealed that when she joined MVP Track Club, she was still not certain that a career in track and field is what she wanted to pursue.

Even when she was selected to be a member of the Jamaican team, she was still uncertain that this was her path in life.

“I only wanted to go, to go. I was so nervous. I was unsure of who I was at the time…still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” she said.

“If anybody had asked me at the time what I wanted to do, I wouldn’t say an athlete. It was just there; an opportunity.”

Her indecision about what path she wanted to follow manifested in how she trained during those early days.

“I got to training late most days, didn’t go to the gym because me did believe me was a go get tough. I went to practise and never completed the workouts. That changed when I went to the World Championships,” she said.

However, before the change occurred, Osaka proved to be quite difficult for the then 19-year-old upstart from Wolmer’s Girls. In Japan, she was a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that won the silver medal that year.

However, when she was told that she was running she said she cried because she didn’t want to run. The occasion also unsettled her.

“Separate and apart from that you’re thinking that this is a big thing and I didn’t want to mess it up,” she said.

History will recall that she did not mess things up. Instead, a new reality dawned on her.

“I think what it did for me was that I saw something different. It is almost as if my eyes opened up to a reality that ‘them people ya wuk hard, you nuh’. You see the grit, the glory, you see defeat, you see so many different things, emotions, people crying when they crossed the line.”

It wasn’t all bad though. There were great benefits to being a member of a medal-winning team.

She remembers sitting in the stands cheering teammate Veronica Campbell chasing down the USA’s Tori Edwards but just coming up short at the line. The USA won gold in 41.98 while Jamaica was a mere 0.03s behind in 42.01. Belgium was third.

She happy for what was her first medal but also because “Me inna di money,” she said laughing.

As a member of the relay squad, Fraser-Pryce collected her share of US$40,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2008 at Jamaica’s National Senior Championships in Kingston, a relatively unknown sprinter called Shelly-Ann Fraser stunned a nation when she finished second in the 100m behind Kerron Stewart, who clocked 10.80. Her time of 10.82 was a surprise to many but the bigger surprise was that she beat her more celebrated compatriots Sherone Simpson (10.86) and Veronica Campbell Brown, who was fourth in 10.88.

 There was a national outcry for Campbell-Brown to replace the greenhorn from the MVP Track Club. Surely, she would not be able to go to Beijing and do better than Campbell-Brown, the seasoned campaigner who won gold over 200m in Athens four years before and the 100m title in Osaka in 2007.

Stung by the naysayers calling for her head Fraser silenced them by becoming the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m title as Jamaica finished 1-2-2 in the finals. She would go on to win another Olympic 100m title four years later in London and just last year won an unprecedented fourth 100m title in Doha in 2019.

A 200m World title and an Olympic 200m silver medal have cemented her a legacy as arguably Jamaica’s greatest female sprinter and one of the best of all time.

She now says that she forgives those naysayers because she understands why they did.

"I’m not gonna say I blame them. I cannot because at the time Veronica was a sure thing,” Fraser-Pryce said during an interview with Yendi Phillips on her YouTube show Odyssey, Untold Journeys with Yendi.

“Looking back now I cannot say I would have sit down in my days and be at home and somebody say ‘Veronica naw run’ and me would a probably take that. Me woulda say ‘No, mi waan Veronica run,” said the four-time 100m World Champion.

“I remember watching that Olympics, 2004 Olympics, at home. Veronica was the standard. So I cannot imagine that they would have said anything different and I understand.

 I have forgiven all of that. I have moved on because I understand that while it shouldn’t have happened based on the rules, I understand where everybody was coming from and I think at the end of the day, I’m glad that I was able to open the doors for younger athletes to understand that anything that you set out to achieve, your age, it don’t matter. When you’re ready, you show up, and you go out there and you go after it.”

Jamaica’s Julian Forte claimed the men’s 100m race in a brisk 10.02, the second-fastest time recorded over the distance this year, at the Velocity Fest meet, on Saturday.

Forte, the MVP representative, was well clear of GC Foster’s Romario Williams (10.33) who was second.  Nesta Carter was third in 10.35. 

In the women’s equivalent, Elaine Thompson-Herah (11.19) was the comfortable winner, finishing ahead of Sprintech’s Sashalee Forbes (11.49) and MVP teammate Srabani Nanda (11.78).  Over double the distance, it was Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who reigned supreme.  Her 22.74 finish was well clear of Anthonique Strachan (23.05) and Forbes who was third in 23.39.

In the men’s 200m, Yohan Blake took first place with a time of 20.62.  Sprintec’s Rasheed Dwyer was second in 20.66 and GC Foster’s Williams took third spot in 20.89.  Rusheen McDonald claimed the men’s 400m after stopping the clock at 46.39, while the women’s equivalent went to Shericka Jackson (52.00).  In the men’s long jump, Tayjay Gayle finished a long way ahead of the field with a leap of 8.13m.

 

A burning desire to leave the sport in better shape than when she found it was the driving force behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s decision to become a board member of the newly formalized The Athletics Association.

Several Caribbean athletes including Olympic champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shaunae Miller-Uibo will comprise a 24-member board of the now formally established The Athletics Association (TAA) that will look out for the best interests of track and field athletes across the globe.

The AA was formed in response to the calls from athletes worldwide for independent representation. “The objective of The Athletics Association is to provide Track and Field athletes with a meaningful voice, to fight for stronger athletes’ rights, and to seek an athletes-first approach to our sport,” the association said in a statement released today.

The Athletics Association aims to engage in positive dialogue with the sport’s governing body, World Athletics, and their own athletes’ commission, but will, of course, hold World Athletics to account when necessary and challenge them if they are not acting in the best interest of the athletes.

Fraser-Pryce, who last year, won an unprecedented fourth World 100m title in Doha, Qatar, sits on the board representing the sprints while Miller-Uibo, the 2016 Olympic 400m champion and 2019 400m silver medallist, represents the Americas alongside Mikel Thomas from Trinidad and Tobago.

Four-time World triple jump champion Christian Taylor is the association’s president and steeplechaser Emma Coburn is the vice president.

According to the association’s statement, they have been busy developing a number of support services and member benefits for athletes, including a hardship grant fund, training courses, and discounts on products.

Details of the full annual membership package will be announced ahead of the full roll-out in January 2021.

Chief among their initial goals, TAA said, is the intention to lobby World Athletics and the Diamond League stakeholders regarding the changes to the Diamond League schedule that were announced for 2020. Those changes included removing the 200m, triple jump and discus from the Diamond League circuit relegating those events to a newly formed Continental Series.

“We will offer suggestions and alternatives that would include all stadium disciplines, and would benefit athletes and fans, as well as the long term interests of this diverse and wonderful sport,” the statement said.

They also want to gain a seat at the table with World Athletics to command real involvement and power when it comes to decision-making in the sport, as they look to amplify the voices of its members and athletes all over the world.

They also plan to announce an Athletics Association’s welfare charter, highlighting their commitment to improving the conditions for athletes across a range of issues as well as solidify a membership package that will begin in January 2021 and will offer access to courses on issues such as financial literacy and life after athletics, and also discounts on products.

Critically, they also plan to present World Athletics with innovative ideas for the growth of the sport.

 “I am very proud of the progress made by the members of the Athletics Association Board. Since its initial inception, a lot of work has been put in to establish the right governance and long-term viability that is essential to do justice to the athletes we represent. It’s this that has attracted the commitment and support of the athletes on the Board. We have athletes from every continent, and a wide variety of disciplines; we are made up of Olympic and World champions, as well as world record holders and continental champions, “ said AA President Taylor.

 “In addition to the board members, there are so many other athletes who have helped get us to this stage. World Athletics recently published a strategic plan, and athletes have been identified as key stakeholders. The Athletics Association provides a representative voice and a simple way for the sport’s governing body to follow through on their commitment. We are ready to contribute to the growth of the sport that we love, ensuring that athletes are part of the decision-making process.  This association is for the athletes, by the athletes, and we are determined to make a real difference. We firmly believe that we can affect positive change in our sport. We are ready for the challenge.”

The Athletics Association has also agreed to a strategic partnership with Global Athlete, a progressive athlete start-up movement aiming to inspire greater athlete representation in organisations across the world of sport. The partnership brings together two organisations with similar values to collaborate on projects, share insights and drive change that will ultimately benefit the athletes and the sport.

“Global Athlete is proud to be a partner with the Athletics Association. Establishing an independent association is a critical step in enhancing athletes’ rights. It is so important for athletes to have their own representation” said Rob Koehler, Global Athlete Director-General.

 “The sport of athletics needs to find a new and exciting path for success. This success can only be possible with real meaningful athlete engagement. Athletes have the desire to further grow the sport while at the same time ensuring the utmost care is given to athletes’ rights. Together we are stronger.” said Emma Coburn, The Athletics Association Vice-President.

 The Athletics Association Board is made up of representatives from every continent and comprises 24 athletes, including individual global champions: Christian Taylor (President) Emma Coburn (Vice-President), Allyson Felix, Ashton Eaton, Julius Yego, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Tianna Bartoletta and Tom Walsh.

 

Decorated 100m champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, clocked a world-leading 11 seconds at the Velocity Fest meet in Kingston, on Saturday, as athletes slowly start returning to the track.

Running into a -2.2m/s headwind, Fraser-Pryce, the former MVP athlete, stopped the clock at 11.00 flat, well clear of Sprintec’s Shashalee Forbes who was second in 11.49.   Bahamas’ Anthonique Strachan was third in 11.84.  In the men’s equivalent, MVP’s Nesta Carter clocked 10.38 to only just edge out Tumbleweed’s Tyquendo Tracey and G.C Foster’s Romario Williams, who both clocked 10.39 for second and third respectively.

Over double the distance, MVP’s Shericka Jackson ran 22.89 to finish heat three ahead of teammate Elaine Thompson, who clocked 22.98, with Forbes third in 23.45.  The men’s 200m went to Julian Forte, who clocked 20.71 running into a negative headwind.  He finished ahead of Rasheed Dwyer, 21.06, and Romario Williams, 21.07.

In the women’s hurdles, Janieve Russell (57.29) dominated affairs, claiming the event comfortably ahead of Rhona Whyte (57.97).  In the 100m hurdles, Megan Tapper won the event in 13.25, ahead of Amoi Brown, who was second in 13.46s.

World long jump champion Tajay Gayle topped his pet event with a wind-assisted 8.52m (4.5m/s).  Doha 2019 triple jump silver medallist, Shanieka Ricketts, claimed that event with 14.11m.

 

 

Most people would jump at the chance of getting a second crack at getting something they initially get wrong, right. Veronica Campbell-Brown, one of the most successful female sprinters in history, is no different.

There have been rumours that World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is no longer being coached by the MVP Track Club and the man who brought her to stardom, coach, Stephen Francis.

Has Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce switched coaches and camps once again as she continues to prepare for what will be her final Olympic Games?

If not, why is she reportedly training separately from her MVP teammates?

The recently minted four-time 100m world champion is, according to eyewitness accounts, now training under the watchful eye of Reynaldo Walcott at Jamaica’s National Stadium in Kingston while MVP’s athletes train at the nearby Stadium East facility.

Walcott, who coaches at St. Elizabeth Technical High School in Santa Cruz, Jamaica, briefly coached the two-time Olympic 100m champion after she left the club following the 2016 Rio Olympics campaign.

The Digicel Ambassador returned to the MVP track club in early 2017, eventually going on to win her fourth 100m world title in Doha in 2019 under the brilliant guidance of Coach Stephen Francis.

In response to queries from Sportsmax.TV, the athlete’s management has been mum on the issue.

Bruce James, Fraser-Pryce’s manager, said he was unable to comment on whether Walcott was once again coaching the woman many believe to be the greatest-ever female sprinter. Walcott also declined to comment when questioned by Sportsmax.TV on Thursday. “I cannot comment on that,” he said.

However, in the past few days, Fraser-Pryce’s name was reportedly on a list of athletes approved to train at Independence Park inside the National Stadium. Moreover, several individuals not affiliated with MVP, but who still declined to go on record, told Sportsmax.TV that looking on, they saw Fraser-Pryce training alone under Walcott’s watchful eye as recently as yesterday (Wednesday).

Sources indicate that Fraser-Pryce has not been at the MVP training site for several days. Some MVP athletes, those sources said, believe an injury is the reason for her absence.

The “Pocket Rocket’ first came to prominence at the MVP track club in 2008 when she surprised many by finishing second at the Jamaican National Championships in 10.82s behind Kerron Stewart but upstaging veterans Sherone Simpson and Veronica Campbell-Brown, who finished third and fourth, respectively.

At the Beijing Olympics that year, she won the 100m in 10.78, becoming the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m title. She followed up that performance by winning the first of her four 100m World titles in 10.73s at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany.

She would go on to Moscow in 2013 where she won the treble (100m, 200m, 4x100m) and then defended her 100m title in Helsinki in 2015.

She battled a debilitating toe injury at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she won a bronze medal in the 100m before temporarily parting company with the club.

The joint national 100m record holder will be attempting to win a third 100m Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed until 2021 because of the Coronavirus COVID19 pandemic.

 

 

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