Mon | Feb 24, 2020

Fraser-Pryce yearns for life in the slow lane - To end Olympic career at Tokyo Games

Published:Tuesday | January 21, 2020 | 7:42 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
General manager of The Gleaner Company, Garfield Grandison, presents a Special Award to co-founders of Kingston Creative, Andrea Dempster-Chung (second left), and Dr Jennifer Bailey (second right), as well as Doris Gross, director, yesterday.
General manager of The Gleaner Company, Garfield Grandison, presents a Special Award to co-founders of Kingston Creative, Andrea Dempster-Chung (second left), and Dr Jennifer Bailey (second right), as well as Doris Gross, director, yesterday.

Jamaica’s ‘Pocket Rocket’, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, will call time on her Olympic career at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, an exclamatory end to a glittering run of form that began in Beijing 12 years ago.

The sprint sensation made the revelation after collecting her second overall RJRGLEANER Honour Award yesterday at The Gleaner’s Kingston offices for achievements in Sports. Her first such award was in 2013.

Come February 28, Fraser-Pryce will be one of the main contenders for the RJRGLEANER Honour Awards’ Platinum category, the pinnacle prize for national glory hosted by the multimedia group. In 2013, she shared the Person of the Year title with singer Tessanne Chin after she won American talent competition, The Voice.

Fraser-Pryce told The Gleaner that the recognition has made her proud, noting that “to be acknowledged for achievements is always a good feeling”. That prize was one of several awards the athletics superstar has won in recent months, after the 2019 Pan Am Sport Female Athlete of the Year last December and the 2019 RJRGLEANER Sportswoman of the Year four days ago.

The 33-year-old revealed that her dedication to athletics has distracted from some of her life passions, including business. She owns a cafe, a hair-sales operation, and a line of beauty products.

Fraser-Pryce said that she was preparing for her fourth and final Olympic Games, emphasising that she was looking forward to life in the slow lane after a career marked by sacrifice, injury, and comeback glory. The Tokyo Olympics won’t be her final competitive outing, though.

“Balancing business and athletics is very hard. It is time-consuming and draining, but I do have a solid team. In a year or two, I will be exiting (athletics), so I want to give everything,” the sprinter said.

She added: “Balancing can be frustrating at times, not being able to be where you want to be and where you expect in terms of business and how I want it. Nobody does business for you like you. Not being able to attend a lot of things is stressing, but we are making it work.”

Fraser-Pryce, who is the only four-time 100m World Champion and the first Jamaican woman to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games in the 100m, expressed gratitude to God for her two-year-old son, Zyon Pryce, who she calls her main motivator. She was miffed, however, by questions about her capacity to reclaim her place on the pedestal of track and field glory, but said she felt vindicated in proving her doubters wrong.

“A lot of persons believe somehow that having a child makes you disabled. I thank God every single day for Zyon, because even though it was not something planned, I am grateful for the outcome. He has taught me that absolutely nothing is impossible once you believe,” Fraser-Pryce said.

Reggae Girl footballer Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw and World champion long jumper Tajay Gayle collected special awards in the Sports category.

Kingston Creative also received the Honour Award for Arts and Culture yesterday, while Team Jamaica Bickle picked up a special award for Voluntary Service.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com