Coach Carr recalls Fraser-Pryce, the female Dennis the Menace
MICHAEL Carr the man who coached two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce during her high school days at Wolmer's Girls School recalls the petite athlete as a dedicated, if somewhat mischievous schoolgirl.
"If there was ever a female Dennis the Menace it would have been her, (but) she was very strong headed and stubborn and anything she puts her mind to it's hard to deter her from that," the coach told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
"Whenever Shelly puts her mind and her heart to something there is hardly anything that deters her from doing that. She is passionate," he added.
Minutes before the final at the Olympic Stadium in East London, where Fraser-Pryce became the third woman in history to repeat in the 100m, Carr told the Sunday Observer: "I can tell she is up to it right now, mentally and physically she is there to compete and having experienced the success over the last four years of being a champion, I guess she loves it and all that comes with it."
Four years ago Fraser-Pryce was a 21-year-old new kid on the block who had to fight to prove she was worthy of being in the 100m at the Beijing Games with calls for the more experienced Veronica Campbell Brown to be the one to take that coveted spot on the national team.
Today Fraser-Pryce and Campbell Brown will share the medal podium after the latter athlete finished third in a season's best 10.81 seconds to Fraser-Pryce's 10.75.
Carr recalled the petite sprinter's days on the Wolmer's track team where she won the Class Two 100m at the ISSA Girls Championships and was second in the Class One event to her now training partner Anneisha McLaughlin.
"Her work ethic was good. It's only in the last year she did not put in the type of work that she should have and it's because of that she lost the 100m at Champs and lost on the line in the last stride in Class One just because she did not put in enough work," he stated.
"She won Class Two and in Class One she got a little complacent and it took its toll on her that year, but apart from that she was always turning up for training. Not one who would run from training and not run from hard work, especially if she believes in what she is doing."
He noted that the athlete, affectionately known as the 'Pocket Rocket' was more like a handful.
"She has been challenging sometimes because Shelly was very mischievous, but she also had that thing about her that commands respect from persons," he said.
He described Fraser-Pryce as an enterprising, well-liked student, who was able to push others as well.
"She was very popular. If anyone in that time says they did not know Shelly-Ann they did not go to Wolmer's. Just because of who she was. She was the house captain for two years and the two years she was house captain the house did not lose."
"When Shelly goes to the students, especially the first, second and third form and says you are going to run, don't make me have to say it to you again... she is that powerful."
He noted that the former principal, Pamela Harrison, and current principal, Colleen Montague, were always helpful and pushed the athlete who came from meagre means and has worked her way to the top of her athletic game.
"Her mother was very supportive... her mother used to come run on sports day and would win too."