Meet Jamaica’s sprinting ‘Pocket Rocket’ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Meet Jamaica’s sprinting ‘Pocket Rocket’ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a world champion, Olympic gold medalist, and Jamaican sprinter who has won the hearts and minds of her nation and the world.

Born on the 27th of December, 1986 in Kingston, Jamaica, Fraser-Pryce inducted herself into history when she became the first female Jamaican athlete to win a gold medal in the 100-meter Olympic at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Nicknamed "Pocket Rocket" due to her small five-foot frame and her speed out of the blocks, Fraser-Pryce was raised by her mother - a street vendor, and grandmother in Waterhouse, one of the poorest communities in Jamaica.

Athletically gifted from a young age, Shelly-Ann's track career started when she made the track team at the Wolmer's High School for Girls in Kingston.

This allowed her to participate in the Inter-Secondary Schools Boys and Girls Championships, Jamaica's high school track and field meet.

She suffered defeats in the earlier parts of the meet before finally proving her natural talent for sprinting.

Fraser-Pryce's sprinting history

Fraser-Pryce went on to specialize in the 100 meters and in the 2005 CARIFTA Games she won the bronze in the 100 meters and earned gold in the 4x100 meter relay.

Upon graduating high school, she began training at the M.V.P. Track and Field Club in Kingston.

World Championships

In 2007 she earned a silver medal for being one of the runners in the qualifying round of the IAAF World Championships 4X100 meter relay, where Jamaica earned the silver medal in the final.

After her taste of success at the World Championships, in 2008 she commanded global attention when she shocked the world by winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in a time of 10.78 seconds, the fastest time in the world.

She also won gold at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.

At the Berlin World Championships in 2009, Fraser-Pryce earned two gold medals when she blazed to victory in the 100 meters and ran the second leg of the Jamaican 4x 100-meter relay team.

In the same season, she won the silver at the World Athletics Final.

At the London Summer Olympic Games, she won her second straight Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters, which made her the first woman since the American Gail Devers to repeat victories in the 100-meter race.

Shelly-Ann soars despite setbacks

In 2010, Fraser-Pryce served a six-month ban for testing positive for the banned substance oxyodone at the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai, which was in a medication she took for a toothache.

However, this did not dampen her bubbly spirit. Shelly-Ann proved herself to be the best once again by becoming the first woman in history to win a Triple World Sprint Championship when she won the 100 meters, 200-meters, and 4x100-meter races at the World Championships.

While working on her sprinting career, she earned a degree in Child and Adolescent Development at the University of Technology in Kingston.

Going into the 2016 Summer Olympics, Fraser-Pryce was aiming to become the first woman to win three consecutive 100-meter Olympics titles, however, she had been plagued by a toe injury, which was hampering her performances all season.

She qualified as the joint fastest for the final of the 100 meters with fellow countrywoman Elaine Thompson, in a time of 10.88 seconds. However, she was in notable pain after her semi-final, grimacing and limping off the track.

In the final, Fraser-Pryce finished third, behind Thompson and Tori Bowie in a season-best time of 10.86 seconds.

Shelly-Ann's philanthropic side

Fraser-Pryce is a well-known philanthropist and is a Goodwill Peace Ambassador, as well as creating her own Pocket Rocket Foundation, a scheme that supports high school athletes in difficult financial situations to get a proper education and keep on training.

She herself has gone on to earn a Master of Science Degree in Applied Psychology at the University of West Indies.

She has also pursued other entrepreneurial endeavors with a café and has parlayed her reputation for amazing hairstyles by launching her own salon named Chic Hair Ja.

She sat out the 2017 season due to her pregnancy.