Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, OD (née Fraser on 27 December 1986) is a Jamaican track and field sprinter. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Fraser-Pryce ascended to prominence in the 2008 Olympic Games when at 21 years old, the relatively unknown athlete became the first Caribbean woman to win 100 m gold at the Olympics. In 2012, she successfully defended her 100 m title, becoming the third woman to win two consecutive 100 m events at the Olympics.
Fraser-Pryce won the 100 m gold medal in the 2009 IAAF World Championships, becoming the second female sprinter to hold both world and Olympic 100 m titles simultaneously (after Gail Devers). After winning the 2015 world title in 100 m, she is the only female to be crowned world champion over 100 m three times (2009, 2013, 2015). She is also the only female athlete to hold both titles on two separate occasions (the 2008 Olympic and 2009 world titles, and the 2012 Olympic and 2013 Wworld titles). In 2013 she became the first female sprinter to win gold medals in the 100 m, 200 m and 4 × 100 m in a single world championship. Fraser-Pryce was the first woman to own IAAF world titles at 60 m, 100 m, 200 m and 4 × 100 m relay, and is the only woman ever to hold them all simultaneously.
Nicknamed the "Pocket Rocket" for her petite frame (she stands 5 feet tall) and explosive starts, she is ranked fourth on the list of the fastest 100 m female sprinters of all time, with a personal best of 10.70 seconds, set in Kingston, Jamaica in 2012. Her achievements and consistency led Olympian and sports commentator Michael Johnson to refer to her as "the greatest female sprinter of all time." Following her win in the 100 m at the 2015 World Championships, the IAAF also referred to her as "possibly the greatest female sprinter in history."
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on 27 December 1986. She grew up in a deprived community, describing her own family background as poor. Her mother Maxine, a former athlete herself, was a single parent whose street vending job sometimes barely earned enough to buy them an evening meal. When speaking at the Christmas lunch at the South Camp Juvenile Correctional and Remand Centre for Girls last year, she referred to her difficult start in life, saying: “I suffered from self-esteem issues because I didn’t have the nice clothes and the nice house and had to take the bus. I wanted to fit in and would make up stories just to be accepted, so I can relate to the issues related to poverty.”
After graduating from Wolmer's High School for Girls in Kingston, she went on to become a world-champion sprinter, specializing in the 100-meter run. Her first sprinting success was in the famous Jamaican Schools Championships, winning the 100 m aged 16. She recalls the pressure of the event: “Our championships in Jamaica are intense. The crowds are verbal … and you will hear them shout ‘make sure you win!’ and ‘beat that girl in lane three!’ It is very hostile and something we get used to.”
In 2007 she was in the Jamaican World Championships relay squad, earning a silver medal by running in the heats, but did she not make the team in the individual event until the following year. Even then she went to the Beijing Olympics without expectations.
2008 Beijing Olympics
Fraser, who trained for the Olympics with teammate Asafa Powell, became the first Jamaican woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal in the 100 m sprint. In her first round heat, she placed first in a time of 11.35 to advance to the second round. She then improved her time to 11.06 seconds, finishing first in her heat. In the semifinals Fraser again finished in front, outsprinting Kerron Stewart and Muna Lee in 11.00 seconds.
In the final, Jamaican sprinters finished in the top three positions in the race, with a photographic tie for second place by Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart. (Both women were awarded silver medals; no bronze medal was awarded.) Fraser's time of 10.78 seconds was a personal best and 0.20 seconds faster than her Jamaican teammates. Fraser's Olympic time was the second-fastest 100 m ever recorded by a Jamaican woman, a mere 0.04 seconds (1/25 of a second) shy of Merlene Ottey's 10.74 record.
Together with Sheri-Ann Brooks, Aleen Bailey and Veronica Campbell-Brown, Fraser also took part in the 4 × 100 m relay. In its first round heat, Jamaica placed first in front of Russia, Germany and China. The Jamaica relay's time of 42.24 seconds was the first time overall out of sixteen participating nations. With this result, Jamaica qualified for the final, replacing Brooks and Bailey with Simpson and Stewart. Jamaica did not finish the race due to a mistake in the baton exchange.
2009 Berlin World Championships
Fraser took the 100 m Jamaican title in June 2009, winning with a world-leading time of 10.88 s against a strong headwind (−1.5 m/s). This made her the number one Jamaican qualifier for the 2009 World Championships. Fraser took full advantage, holding off a late surge (and personal best) from compatriot Kerron Stewart, who had a slow start, to win by two one-hundredths of a second in a time of 10.73 – the fourth fastest time in the event's history and a Jamaican national record. It was also, at the time, the second fastest 100 m time in World Championship history.
She later ran the second leg for Jamaica in both the heats and the final of the 4 × 100 m relay. In the heats, Jamaica ran a very quick 41.88, their second fastest performance ever at the time. In the final, Fraser ran an outstanding back-straight, outrunning athletes like Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas, Anne Mollinger of Germany and Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago, with a successful change over to Aleen Bailey. However, with the USA's earlier disqualification, the team employed very safe handovers, and went on to claim the gold medal in a time of 42.06. The Bahamas claimed silver and Germany claimed bronze.
2012 London Olympics
Leading into the 2012 Summer Olympics, Fraser-Pryce won the 100 m and 200 m at the Jamaican Olympic Trials. In doing so, she improved her national record in the 100 m to 10.70, and set a personal best of 22.10 in the 200 m.
At the Games, Fraser-Pryce successfully defended her 100 m title with a time of 10.75 seconds, the second fastest Olympic 100 m time ever run by a woman. American rival Carmelita Jeter was beaten into second place, with fellow Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown taking bronze. It was, collectively, the fastest women's 100 m final ever: an unprecedented 7 women ran 11 seconds or faster, with Veronica Campbell-Brown becoming the fastest ever bronze medallist with her time of 10.81 and Tianna Bartoletta becoming the fastest ever non-medallist with her time of 10.85.
In her first year contesting the 200 m at a global championship, Fraser-Pryce set another personal best of 22.09 to win the Olympic silver medal behind Allyson Felix. She also ran the first leg for her team in the 4 × 100 m relay, earning a second silver medal and setting a new national record time of 41.41 in the process.
2013 Moscow World Championships
Fraser-Pryce entered the World Championships in Moscow with World leading times in both the 100 m and the 200 m. She won the 100 m race in a new world leading time of 10.71 into a −0.3 headwind, the second fastest 100 m time ever run at the world championships. Her margin of victory was a staggering 0.22 seconds, the largest in world championship history. Fraser-Pryce then went on to win the 200 m title in a time of 22.17, a time only she had bettered that entire year. It was Fraser-Pryce's first major title over that distance, and she became the first person to complete the 100 m/200 m double in 22 years. Fraser-Pryce and fellow Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt swept the sprinting events for their respective genders at the meet, winning three gold medals each in the 100 m, 200 m and 4 × 100 m.
As the anchor runner for Jamaica's 4 × 100 m relay team, Fraser-Pryce won her third gold medal of the World Championships with teammates Carrie Russell, Kerron Stewart and Schillonie Calvert. Winning by an astounding 1.46 seconds over the American team, who were awarded silver medals after the French team were disqualified for a lane infringement, Jamaica's winning time of 41.29 set a new championship record and was, at the time, the second fastest women's 4 × 100 m time ever. Fraser-Pryce's blazing anchor leg was timed at 9.76, one of the fastest in history.
Fraser-Pryce's dominance of both sprint events extended beyond the World Championships. She boasted the three fastest times of the year in the 100 m and the two fastest in the 200 m. She won six Diamond League races, four 100 m and two 200 m, to claim both the 100 m and 200 m Diamond League titles for 2013. In doing so, she became the only person, male or female, to simultaneously hold the World Championship and Diamond League titles in both the 100 m and 200 m.
2014 Sopot World Indoor Championships
Fraser-Pryce made her World Indoor Championships debut in Sopot, 2014. She won the indoor 60 m title in a time of 6.98, making her the 7th fastest of all time at the distance. This was all despite not training specifically for the event; “I’m still preparing for my outdoor season so nothing special for the 60m. I just came here and wasn’t prepared for the 60m,” she revealed.
2015 Beijing World Championships
Prior to the 2015 World Championships, Fraser-Pryce had set a world-leading 100 m time of 10.74 in Paris and had won the Jamaican trials in a time of 10.79. Her coach had made the decision to focus on the 100 m rather than attempt to defend her 200 m title in Beijing. Entering the World Championships as the favorite, she won the 100 m in a time of 10.76, defending her title and becoming the first woman in history to win three 100 m world championships titles.
Fraser-Pryce also anchored the Jamaican women's 4 × 100 m team, consisting of Veronica Campbell-Brown, Natasha Morrison and Elaine Thompson, to gold in the second fastest time ever of 41.07, breaking the championship record for the second World Championships in a row. Receiving the baton in leading position after strong performances by her teammates, she ran a blistering anchor leg to put even further distance between herself and the USA's anchor Jasmine Todd.
2016 Rio Olympics
Going into the 2016 Summer Olympics, Fraser-Pryce was aiming to become the first woman to win three consecutive 100 m Olympics titles. However, she had been plagued by a toe injury, which was hampering her performances all season. She qualified as joint fastest for the final of the 100 metres with country woman 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.
Fraser-Pryce served a six-month ban from athletics after a urine sample taken at the 2010 Shanghai Diamond League meeting was found to contain Oxycodone. Oxycodone is a painkiller that is not considered to improve performance, nor does the WADA Code consider it a masking agent for other drugs. Stephen Francis, Fraser-Pryce's coach, reportedly recommended the painkiller to her after she complained of a toothache, and she neglected to declare the medication on her doping control form in what she has described as a simple clerical error. However, Fraser-Pryce has acknowledged responsibility for her actions; "I'm a professional athlete – one who's supposed to set examples – so whatever it is I put in my body it's up to me to take responsibility for it and I have done that".
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been the recipient of numerous accolades in her home country of Jamaica. She has won the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's Golden Cleats Award for female Athlete of the Year on four occasions: 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2015. She has also received the RJR National Sportswoman Of The Year award three times, in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
She has been nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year on four occasions: 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2016. The award is held annually, to celebrate the most remarkable men and woman around the world on their achievements in the previous calendar year, with the winners being determined by votes made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time.
After her outstanding 2013 season, Fraser-Pryce was named IAAF World Athlete of the Year, becoming the second Jamaican woman to win since Merlene Ottey in 1990. In accepting her award, she exclaimed, “I'm shocked and excited. It's something that has been a dream of mine. Not all the time do things happen that we want to happen, but this did.”
Fraser-Pryce is a committed Christian.
She was named as the first UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador for Jamaica on 22 February 2010.
On 23 February 2010, she was named Grace Goodwill Ambassador for Peace for 2010 in a partnership with Grace Foods and not-for-profit Organisation PALS (Peace and Love in Society).
In January 2011, she married long-term boyfriend Jason Pryce, changing her surname from Fraser to Fraser-Pryce.
In November 2012, she graduated from the University of Technology with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Child and Adolescent Development. In 2016, she announced that she would be pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Applied Psychology at the University of West Indies starting in September.
Fraser-Pryce is known for frequently changing her hairstyle during track season, including a dyed pink look during the Moscow World Championships. In 2013 she launched her own hair business, a hair salon named Chic Hair Ja.
Fraser-Pryce created the Pocket Rocket Foundation, a scheme which supports high school athletes in difficult financial situations to get a proper education and keep on training. "As a chairman of the foundation I believe not only in issuing cheques to schools, but also in following up with the kids, being there for them emotionally, getting to understand what's going on with them at school", Shelly-Ann explained. In May 2016 she held a silent auction which raised over $4 million for the foundation.
|2002||Central American and Caribbean |
Junior Championships (U-17)
|Bridgetown, Barbados||4th||200 m||25.24 |
|1st||4 × 100 m relay||45.33 CR|
|2005||CARIFTA Games (U-20)||Bacolet, Trinidad and Tobago||3rd||100 m||11.73 |
|1st||4 × 100 m relay||44.53|
|2007||World Championships||Osaka, Japan||2nd||4 x 100 metres relay||42.70 SB|
|2008||Olympic Games||Beijing, PR China||1st||100 metres||10.78 PB |
|DNF||4 x 100 metres relay|
|2009||World Championships||Berlin, Germany||1st||100 metres||10.73 NR |
|1st||4 x 100 metres relay||42.06|
|2011||World Championships||Daegu, Korea||4th||100 metres||10.99 |
|2nd||4 x 100 metres relay||41.70 NR|
|2012||Olympic Games||London, Great Britain||1st||100 metres||10.75 |
|2nd||200 metres||22.09 PB |
|2nd||4 x 100 metres relay||41.41 NR|
|2013||World Championships||Moscow, Russia||1st||100 metres||10.71 WL |
|1st||200 metres||22.17 |
|1st||4 x 100 metres relay||41.29 CR|
|2014||World Indoor Championships||Sopot, Poland||1st||60 m||6.98 PB|
|Commonwealth Games||Glasgow, Scotland||1st||4 x 100 m||41.83 GR|
|2015||World Championships||Beijing, China||1st||100 m||10.76 |
|1st||4 x 100 metres relay||41.07 CR|
|2016||Olympic Games||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||3rd||100 m||10.86 SB |
|2nd||4 x 100 metres relay||41.36 SB|
Diamond League Titles
- 2012 Diamond League overall Diamond Race Title in 100 m
- 2013 Diamond League overall Diamond Race Title in 100 m and 200 m
- 2015 Diamond League overall Diamond Race Title in 100 m
|Outdoor||100 metres||10.70 (+0.6)||29 June 2012||Kingston, Jamaica||4th of all time|
|200 metres||22.09 (−0.2)||8 August 2012||London, United Kingdom|
|Indoor||60 metres||6.98||9 March 2014||Sopot, Poland||7th of all time|
- All information taken from IAAF profile.