Fraser-Pryce breaking Flo Jo’s world record would be bigger achievement than Bolt. Can she do the impossible?

By Sports Desk June 12, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce once again defied all expectations by clocking the fastest time run over 100m by a woman in 33 years, and, in the process, inched closer to one of the most enduring records in all of sports, Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 10.49.

With the Olympic Games fast approaching on the horizon, but still plenty of time left to go even faster, Fraser-Pryce, the most dominant force in women’s sprinting for over a decade, must certainly have her eyes set on the only prize that has eluded her thus far.

But, even Fraser-Pryce’s sparkling new personal best time of 10.63, which sets her up as a prohibitive favourite for a third 100m title at this summer’s Olympic Games, is still 0.14th of a second off the long-standing, iron-clad mark set by the American in 1988. 

For many who watched Fraser-Pryce's race, however, as impressive as it was, the time seems to have been set with the athlete having something in reserve.  Knowing Fraser-Pryce, the question of how much faster can she go is one that will only be answered when the lights are brightest on the Tokyo Games world stage.   She has freely admitted that, despite the fast time, she had only been focused on executing the race properly and the thought of running 10.6 had not crossed her mind. 

Since it was set at the USA trial in 1988, Flo-Jo’s record has continued to court controversy.  While some have pointed to unsubstantiated claims of drug use, some scholars have argued that the wind reading for the event could not have been correct.  The athlete’s time of 10.49 was recorded with a wind reading of 0.0, despite, according to reports and footage analysis, there being clear evidence of wind at the venue.  Despite that, it, however, remains on World Athletics books as the target to beat.

With all the controversy surrounding the record and how much the unbeatable mark has weighed down women’s sprinting, Fraser-Pryce managing to break the time would arguably be a bigger achievement than the 100m time set by Bolt.  Prior to Bolt breaking the record the first time in 2008 (9.72), the previous holder was Asafa Powell who ran 9.74 and that was in 2007 and before that Powell again in 2005.  Female sprinters have craned their necks to look up at Flo-Jo’s mark for 33 years.

In an illustrious career, Fraser-Pryce has made it a habit of rewriting the rules in terms of what’s possible.  At 34-years-old she has not only said but proven that age is just a number and repeatedly silenced doubters with her work ethic, patience, and determination.

When she struck gold in the women’s 100m, at the Doha World Championships, she became the oldest female sprinter to win a global 100m title, amazingly, two years later she is running even faster than that.

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    JAAA Vice President Ian Forbes cited a lack of competition as a key factor in the previous failure but expressed optimism about the upcoming attempt. "We have been looking at the possibility of staging a race at our championships and I am happy to report that there will be a 4x400m race at the national championships to facilitate qualification," Forbes announced at a press conference on Monday.

    JAAA Vice President Ian Forbes

    Forbes elaborated on the necessary conditions for the race to be considered a legitimate qualifier. "For the record, at least two countries must be present in the race for it to be ratified as a bona fide race and will count towards qualification," he explained. “I am happy to report that Jamaica will be represented and we have a team from St Vincent and the Grenadines. Jamaica’s representation will not be only one team, we’ll have a number of teams and we are also working on another country and an international team as well.”

    In anticipation of the relay, the championship schedule has been adjusted to give the 400m runners the best chance to achieve the qualifying time while ensuring their safety. "We have consulted with stakeholders, athletes, coaches, agents; and we would have had at least two meetings, heard recommendations and we can now confirm that race will be run the final day of the championships, the 30th of June at 8:05 pm at the national stadium," Forbes stated.

    To prevent overburdening the athletes, the schedule has been crafted meticulously. "On Thursday, the 27th at 10 am, there will be a preliminary round for some of the athletes in the 400m. So the top-ranked 16 athletes will be advanced to the semi-finals," said Forbes. “The remaining athletes will compete in the preliminary round at 10 am on Thursday morning. From those preliminaries, the top eight will join the 16 and be placed in one of three semi-finals which will be run at 6:50 pm on Thursday.

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    The effort has garnered financial support, with two companies pledging a combined total of one million Jamaican dollars towards the participants in the race. "It will be a tiered approach and once the qualification time is attained the full million will be allocated to the participants in that race. Those two companies are Fleetwood Jamaica Limited and Tile City," Forbes announced.

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    As the final day of the championships approaches, the Jamaican team and its supporters remain hopeful that this last attempt will secure their place in the 4x400m relay at the Paris Olympics, continuing the nation's rich tradition in the event.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    “The opportunity to train and play at such a high level is something I'm really looking forward to as I always aim to grow more as a player and a person, so I can't wait to learn from my new teammates and coaches and to contribute to the team's success. Benfica has a fantastic reputation, and I'm excited to be part of this club's journey,” she noted.

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