Gracious Shelly says Paris 2024 not in her plansWednesday, August 04, 2021
BY IAN BURNETT
TOKYO, Japan – She is easily one of the most decorated female sprinters in modern history and, for many, must be included in any greatest- of-all-time conversation.
But, like everything in life, there comes an end, and for all intents and purposes, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ran her last individual race as an Olympian on Tuesday night in the women's 200m final, where she finished in fourth place and just off the medals podium in a decent 21.94 seconds.
Quizzed about whether she harboured any thoughts of a return to Paris in three years' time, Fraser-Pryce was emphatic.
“No, I'm not,” she said. “As I said, God has been good, I've had an amazing career and I think, for me, I really hoped that corona [virus pandemic] didn't happen because this year's World Championships in Oregon would have been it.
“So, I'm mentally preparing myself to see what next year would bring, because I would definitely love to have my family, all my family, to Portland for the World Championships,” declared Fraser-Pryce during a mixed zone press interview.
And, while disappointed not to have earned a higher place in the final, she was more than gracious in defeat.
“I believe that as athletes our emotions are what make us real and relatable and I think I was disappointed in the 100 mainly because I felt that I didn't run the best race and that cost me.
“And, as an athlete you want to make sure that every time you step on the line, technically, you are running your best race to give yourself the best chance.
“Whenever I step on the line, always the intention is I'm going to the line for first, and it means you have to execute a certain way to get that and I think, as I said, no excuse, because at the championships you just have to be ready regardless.”
The highly decorated 34-year-old mother explained what happed in the 100m final and what she had hoped for in Tuesday's longer sprint.
“I don't know what happened on the first stride and instead of holding my phase, I just rushed through the phase. But, with disappointments come learning lessons, so you take the lesson and you move on.
“I was hoping to come to the 200 and to have a good race, and I think even though I finished outside of the medals and I'm not going to be standing on the podium, I still think I ran a good race and I cannot take that away from myself. I think I was competitive in the race and I'm proud of that.”
A two-time Olympics gold medallist, four-time Olympics silver medallist, and one-time Olympics bronze medallist, Fraser-Pryce, who like Elaine Thompson-Herah, has run six races in the first five days at the Games, wants rest before refreshing herself ahead of contesting the 4x100m relay.
She says unless it's absolutely unavoidable, she will not participate in Thursday morning's heat.
“I don't think so, unless I have to and it's a situation where there's nothing else to do, then I'll find the strength and the guts to do it, but I'll definitely want to be rested, because that 200, especially that two 200 on one day, was a killer, but I'm hoping that we can get it together for the 4x1, but first we have to qualify for the finals and give ourselves a very good chance because we have a very good chance and then get the baton around in the best possible way and whatever works for us in assembling the team and hoping that everything works out.”
And being as gracious in victory as in defeat, Fraser-Pryce, dubbed Mummy Rocket or Pocket Rocket, spared a thought for her rival's, Thompson-Herah, successes here.
“That's impressive, and repeating at any championships is impressive and to run 21.5 in a finals is also impressive, so hats off to Elaine and the team [coaching staff] for putting together that effort.
“I mean, as I said, I'm not on the podium, but I'm excited that Jamaica got to retain that title once more.”
And just as Shelly-Ann was about to begin her interview with the Jamaican reporter crew here in Tokyo, an excited American female athlete couldn't resist touching her to get her attention just to say “hi”.
The Jamaican star enjoyed the moment and strongly believes that her resilience and perseverance have indeed transcended Jamaican borders.
“I definitely think it means the world to inspire all athletes, because sooner or later everybody is going to turn 30, somebody is going to be a mother, somebody is going to take a year off and I'm glad that I'm able to show the world that it's possible to come back and get a medal, run fast, throw far, jump high, so I'm glad that I'm able to give that inspiration to other athletes,” she said.