On a warm Saturday afternoon at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica, two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce became the second fastest woman in history to win the 100 metres, breaking Jamaica’s national record of 10.70 with a blazing 10.63-second run.
The aptly-named “Pocket Rocket” (Fraser-Pryce is just five feet tall), has now acquired the moniker “Mommy Rocket” — the 34-year-old sprinter returned to the track just nine months after giving birth to her son, Zyon, in 2017.
After the June 5 race, Fraser-Pryce tweeted:
When the hard work finally pays off!! So much accomplished, yet so much more to go
— ShellyAnnFraserPryce (@realshellyannfp) June 5, 2021
She told reporters in Kingston:
I’m at a loss for words because 10.6 has been a dream, a goal. I’ve been working so hard, been so patient and to see it finally unfold, I’m just ecstatic.
This was the world’s fastest women’s 100m since American Florence Griffith Joyner won at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, where she gained three gold medals. However, many Jamaicans discounted the late “Flo-Jo’s” record, citing her alleged drug use during this period:
Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce 🇯🇲
10.63 🔥🔥🔥 2nd fastest woman in history but as far as I'm concerned that's the WR‼️I pretty much ignore Flo Jo's record… Drugs and all. pic.twitter.com/nAAsCyOr9g
— Sanade ♥ ♡ (@SanadeSweet) June 5, 2021
Now third on the all-time list, retired American sprinter Carmelita Jeter, who had held the record since 2009 with a run of 10.64 — and whom Fraser-Pryce has regarded as her toughest rival — tweeted her congratulations:
I just woke to some amazing news. @realshellyannfp has done it again. I give credit when it’s due. You have come back from having a child and showed the world how talented and driven you are. You are officially the Fastest Women Alive. Keep motivating these young Queens #CoachJet
— Carmelita Jeter (@CarmelitaJeter) June 5, 2021
Fellow Olympic medalist Usain Bolt added:
Congrats 🙌🏿 Representing from day one 🙏🏿 https://t.co/xqjKaWLpT9
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) June 5, 2021
Jamaican sports fans were ecstatic at Fraser-Pryce's record-breaking win. A local sports journalist tweeted:
— Denise Walters (@like_daw) June 5, 2021
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness joined in:
#Shelly is a fine example of what talent, discipline and determination may achieve.
We are proud of our global Ambassador 🇯🇲.
— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) June 5, 2021
Fraser-Pryce, from the inner city Kingston community of Waterhouse, is enormously popular in Jamaica. An engaging yet unassuming personality, she is admired as a hard-working athlete. One of her fans summed up her determined nature:
Shelly-Ann came back from a toe that was giving her some serious problems. GRIT, discipline, focus, pure in spirit, humble… must succeed!
— Kerry-Ann Morgan (@patrioticjam) June 5, 2021
Seen as a role model by many Jamaicans, Fraser-Pryce is also a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF Jamaica. She has been using the platform to advocate for Jamaican children and mothers, often sharing motivational messages for women:
— ShellyAnnFraserPryce (@realshellyannfp) May 9, 2021
Fraser-Pryce is now focused on Jamaica's National Trials and beyond that, the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo. Meanwhile, family always plays an important role:
“Mommy” is the best title I could have ever earned. pic.twitter.com/VDF7uZ4WGV
— ShellyAnnFraserPryce (@realshellyannfp) June 4, 2021
Whatever happens, Jamaicans know that the sprinter, who is not planning to retire just yet, will continue to make them proud.