18 years a sprint queen: Sherone Simpson hangs up her spikes

Sherone Simpson, who has been an asset to Jamaican women's sprinting for the last 18 years, has gracefully hung up her spikes. The world first got a glimpse of Simpson at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, where she, along with Kerron Stewart, Anniesha McLaughlin, and Simone Facey blazed to a championship record of 43.40 seconds in the 4x100 meters to take home the win.

Simpson went on to shine throughout her final year as a junior by winning medals at the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Junior under-20 games, Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships, and the Pan American Junior Championships. In 2004, Simpson stepped things up by qualifying for the Olympic Games in Athens. She went on to place fifth in the 100m final in 11.05 seconds, and was a part of Jamaica's women's 4x100m relay team that won the Olympic gold medal that year.

Simpson used 2005 to prepare for her breakout season. She was able to run on the women's 4x100m relay team at the Helsinki World Championships, which got silver behind the United States. Simpson returned in 2006 ready, determined and fast to make her mark in world track and field. She had her best days that season as she became a double Commonwealth Games gold medalist in the 200 meters and the 4x100 meters. She later went on to run her personal bests in both the 100 meters, 10.82 seconds and the 200 meters 22.00 seconds. Simpson became the fastest woman in the world over the sprints that year.

In 2008, Simpson became a part of the 'guaranteed four', along with Veronica Campbell-Brown, Kerron Stewart, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. These ladies were always sure to medal at any World or Olympic Games from 2008-2015. That same year at the Beijing Olympics Simpson was a part of the most historic women's 100 meters as all three Jamaicans (Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart) crossed the finish line in gold, silver, silver respectively. Simpson went on to make the 200 meters final but did not medal.

The four went on defend their women's 4x100 meter title but failed because of the exchange between Simpson and Stewart. Over the next four seasons, Simpson managed to make the 200 meters finals at the Deagu World Championships and got a silver medal in the 4x100 meters relay. She also picked up another silver in the sprint at the London 2012 Olympics. Simpson won the Pan American Games 100 meters title after being involved in a doping scandal in the two previous seasons.

In 2016 Simpson got another medal, but this time not on the track. Simpson gave birth to her daughter during the time of the Rio Olympics. She returned to the track to win her last two gold and silver medals at the 2018 Barranquilla, Central American, and Caribbean Games and at the 2019 Yokohama World relays.

She decided to hang her spikes earlier this month, after competing for Jamaica since 2002. Simpson plans to pursue a degree in Psychology degree and to become a track and field analyst.

Sherone Simpson's legacy in track and field will forever live on.

--Kemal Forde



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