Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce etched her name in the history books when she became the fastest woman alive on Saturday. Shelly-Ann clocked a world-leading time of 10.63 seconds in the women's 100m sprint at the Olympic Destiny Series 3 meeting in Kingston, surpassing her previous personal best record of 10.70 seconds.
This is an incredible achievement for the mother-of-one as it shows she is still peaking at the age of 34. Earlier in May, Shelly-Ann addressed the media and said that her aim this year was to break her personal best record. And she has now achieved the feat emphatically by finishing 32 seconds before her nearest competitor.
The tailwind speed of 1.3 meters per second in Kingston definitely helped Shelly-Ann set her new personal best record. However, that takes nothing away from her tireless efforts.
Shelly-Ann has seen a generation of athletes come and go before her eyes. She surprised everyone by claiming a berth at the 2008 Jamaican Olympic trials after running a sub-11 race for the first time in her career. At the age of 21, she held her nerves once again at the Beijing Olympics to win a gold medal at the women's 100m sprint.
Over the next thirteen years, Shelly-Ann grew in leaps and bounds in terms of maturity. Motherhood has also enhanced her performance and it keeps her focussed.
"My perspective has definitely changed. I was 21 when I first started. I was not sure what I wanted to do. I was going with the flow and enjoying what I was doing. At 34, I have clear intentions at what I want to do," Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce addressed the media before her 2021 Doha Diamond League victory.
While other athletes, particularly sprinters, wither away with time, Shelly-Ann has aged like a fine wine. Due credit should also be given to her new coach Reynaldo Walcott, who has taken charge of Shelly-Ann's training since 2021.
Under Walcott's tutelage, she was able to break her personal best time of 10.70 seconds, which she set way back at 2012. Speaking to reporters, an energetic Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce said:
“I’m lost for words because 10.6 has been a dream, a goal. I have been working so hard, being so patient to see it finally unfold. I’m so ecstatic."
Can Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce break the women's 100m world record at the Tokyo Olympics?
Florence Griffith-Joyner's women's 100m sprint world record of 10.49 seconds has remained untouched for the last 33 years. The late American also holds the next two fastest sprints by any woman - 10.61 and 10.62 seconds.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce might require a little help from the conditions to break the women's 100m sprint record. For instance, it was cold and raining in the 2021 Gateshead Grand Prix final and the event also saw a headwind speed of 3.1 meters per second. As a result, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce finished fourth in the women's 100m race after posting a time of 11.51 seconds.
To break the women's 100m world record, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce first needs to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. She needs to finish in the top three of the 2021 Jamaican Track and Field Olympic Trials, and the likes of Elaine Thompson, Natasha Morrison, Briana Williams and Kemba Nelson won't give her an inch without fighting.
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Previously, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce stated that the 2022 World Championships will be her last event before her retirement. If that is the case, time is running out for the 6-time Olympic medallist to break the women's 100m sprint world record.