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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was born on December 27th, 1986 in Kingston, Jamaica. She grew up in a violent, impoverished neighborhood on Waterhouse, Kingston. Shelly-Ann was raised by a single mother and had two brothers. She started competing in field events at the age of ten. In high school, she covered a hundred meters in just 11.57 seconds, which was very promising for a sixteen-year-old (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price: The Pocket Rocket, 2018). In 2007, she improved her speed to 11.31 seconds; she had the fifth best time nationally. At the time, she was a student at the University of Technology, Kingston. In 2012, she married Jason Pryce, her long-term boyfriend. Her most notable achievements are the gold medal for the 100-meter race at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and 2012 London Olympic Games (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price: The Pocket Rocket, 2018). In addition to this, Fraser is the first woman from the Caribbean Islands to win a gold medal at the Olympics.
At the age of sixteen, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce competed at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in 2002; her team won the four by one hundred meters race. In 2004, she had a personal best of 11.73 seconds at the 100 meters event (Lindstrom, 2018). At the beginning of her career as a senior athlete, Fraser joined the MVP Track and Field Club, Kingston. Here, she met Asafa Powell, the former world record holder for the men’s 100-meter race (Shelly-Ann launches Pocket Rocket Foundation, 2013). In 2007, Fraser participated in her first international event during the IAAF World Championships, which took place in Osaka, Japan. Here, she attained a silver medal in the four by one hundred meters event (Lindstrom, 2018).
Nobody expected the sprinter’s breakthrough in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games; she set a new personal best time of 10.78 seconds. Her small body frame made it difficult for her competitors to see her as a threat: Fraser was only five feet three inches (1.6 meters) tall (Lindstrom, 2018). The figure is thirty centimeters (one foot) lower than Usain Bolt’s height. Fraser was nicknamed “Pocket Rocket” by a journalist, and she did not disappoint. At the 2009 World Championships, she improved her personal best in the 100-meter race to 10.73 seconds (Lindstrom, 2018). During the same event, Fraser also participated in the four by one hundred meters race where her team won; other is the team included Kerron Stewart, Allen Bailey, and Simone Facey.
In 2012, she competed at the London Olympic Games and set a new personal record at 10.70 seconds in the 100-meter race. Fraser faced stiff competition from Carmelita Jeter (American). At the same event, it was her first time to participate in the two hundred meters race; she walked away with the silver medal. Allison Felix from the USA took the gold medal (Eugene, 2016). Fraser became the third woman to retain a world title. Her predecessors were American sprinters, Wyomia Tyus and Gail Devers; Tyus won in 1964 and 1968 while Devers held the title in 1992 and 1996 (Eugene, 2016).
In 2013, she participated in the Worlds Moscow. Fraser won the gold medal in the women’s a hundred meters final; she improved her time to 10.71 seconds. Currently, this is the best time for any female athlete in the event since 2012 (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price: The Pocket Rocket, 2018). After four days, Fraser-Pryce won the gold medal in the two hundred meters race with a time of 22.17 seconds. Additionally, she concluded the championships with a gold medal in the four by one hundred meters relay race with a time of 41.29 seconds. She set a record as the third woman to win gold medals in two races at the same championship. In addition to this, she helped the Jamaican women’s team to secure the gold medal in the four by one hundred meters relay race (Shelly-Ann launches Pocket Rocket Foundation, 2013). At the end of the season, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) presented her the 2013 Female Athlete of the Year award.
In 2014, Fraser continued her legacy by registering an excellent performance at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, which took place in Sopot. She won the 60-meter race with a stunning time of 6.98 seconds (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Back on Track, 2017). In 2015, the sprinter won a gold medal in the hundred meters event and as part of the Jamaican four by one hundred meters team. She set a world record as the first female athlete to win three gold medals in the 100-meter race (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Back on Track, 2017).
At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in Brazil, Fraser had a toe injury. In spite of this, she emerged third in the 100-meter race and took a bronze medal. Fellow Jamaican, Elaine Thompson and American, Tori Bowie (10.83 seconds), took gold and silver respectively (Lindstrom, 2018). Fraser was only 0.003 seconds behind Bowie. She also helped her team to secure the silver medal in the four by one hundred relay race. Team USA won the race with a time of 41.01 seconds (Lindstrom, 2018).
At the age of twenty-three, Fraser was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for Jamaica in 2010 (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Back on Track, 2017). She was given the role due to her promotion of children’s rights. As an individual from a poor background, UNICEF Jamaica saw her as the perfect candidate for the position. Robert Feuderich, the representative from UNICEF Jamaica, said that Fraser is a role model for children since she became successful despite her background. In the same year, she was named the Goodwill Ambassador for Grace Kennedy (Eugene, 2016).
Pryce launched the Pocket Rocket Foundation to develop talents of athletes in high school (Shelly-Ann launches Pocket Rocket Foundation, 2013). The organization offers scholarships that cover their tuition, travel, lunch and educational costs. In 2013, several students were awarded the scholarship including Shavar Scott (volleyball), Tahjia Lumley (squash), Carlton Collins (field and track) and Kimone Shaw (field and track) (Crooney, 2017). Apart from charity work, Fraser socializes with her fans through her social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram) where she regularly posts photos and videos.
Fraser has a strong team behind her to ensure her success. Her manager is Bruce James, who also leads MVP. Fraser started her senior career as an athlete at MVP and still has ties to the institution. Her manager is in charge of running her social media accounts as well as signing deals that are beneficial to the sprinter’s image (Walker, 2017). Also, James makes sure that Fraser does not engage in activities that ruin her reputation since the public image can make or break a person’s career.
After she completed high school, Fraser was guided by Stephen Francis from the MVP Track and Field Club for ten years (Tuluwani, 2012). Francis is considered the best sprint coach globally and has led Fraser through seven world titles including two Olympics (100m), one IAAF World Championship (200m), three IAAF World Championships (100m) and one IAAF World Indoor (60m). He has also worked with Asafa Powell, former record holder in the men’s 100m race, and gold medalist Elaine Thompson (Lawrence, 2016). In 2016, the sprinter got a new coach, Reynaldo Walcott. He has long-term experienced in coaching as he was one of the technical staff at MVP and one of the best Jamaican coaches.
In 2009, Shelly-Ann underwent an appendectomy only months before the IAAF Championships (Eugene, 2016). In 2010, Fraser lost most of the season due to doping allegations; she was banned for six month since oxycodone was found in her system. In her defense, she said that her coach, Francis, gave her the drug as a pain reliever after her oral surgery. The drug is prohibited among athletes but not considered a performance booster. In 2016, Fraser suffered a severe toe injury. However, she still competed at the Rio Olympics. When asked about her participation despite the injury, she said that she wanted an opportunity to defend her title (Walker, 2017).
Gender and Class
Shelly-Ann managed to beat the odds of poverty and the low status of women in Jamaica to become a world champion and earn admiration from her countrymen and the whole world. Her most prominent role model is her mother, Maxine (Tuluwani, 2012). She grew up in Waterhouse, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Jamaica. The area in drug infested and criminal gangs are rampant, leading to several murders every week. Maxine was raised in a big family with many siblings. Unfortunately, she became pregnant as a teenager and found herself a single mother with three children (Tuluwani, 2012). She did not want her children to experience the same hardships that she did. Maxine lived with her children in a single-room tenement where the whole family shared one bed. Consequently, she worked hard as a street vendor to provide the best education she could afford for her children. Maxine was very strict with her children and did not allow them to be involved with gangs or idle in the streets. Fraser said that their situation encourages her to work hard (Walker, 2017). Furthermore, she was cautious of the people she engaged with since crime was rampant in the area and people are deceitful. Maxine is a former athlete. Fraser followed her mother’s footsteps as she started running like a little girl hoping that her skills would take her out of poverty. After the Beijing Olympics, she was surprised to see her mural by a local artist; this surprised her since, in her neighborhood, someone’s face was painted on the wall after their death (Tuluwani, 2012).
The life of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce can be compared to the Conflict Theory. The theory’s origins can be pointed out to the ideologies of Karl Marx who spoke of the class difference (Alexander, 2014). Marx said that the society is unfair due to the presence of a class system that puts a few majority at the top (bourgeoisie) while the majority (proletarians) suffer. The rich control the nation’s resources and live lavishly while the rest of the country is poor (Alexander, 2014). Fraser came from a poor background. Her mother, Maxine, worked hard to care for her children and provide them with education. Waterhouse, a poor neighborhood, is crime infested and people are in constant fear for their lives. The gravity of the situation is confirmed when Fraser is surprised to see a painting of herself on a wall. In that area, murals of people were meant to honor the dead (Alexander, 2014).
Elite Female Athletes and Pregnancy
In the past, most elite athletes would abandon their careers to start a family; pregnancy marked the end of their careers. Others would take time off (a year or two) from work. Currently, that trend is changing. Elite female athletes are managing their careers despite motherhood (Crooney, 2017). Kerri Walsh Jennings competed at the 2012 London Olympics (volleyball) and got the gold medal; she was five weeks pregnant. At the 2010 Olympics, Kristie Moore, a Canadian curler, won the silver medal. She was also five weeks into her pregnancy. Nur Suryani Mohamed participated in the 2012 London Olympics eight months into her pregnancy. Serena Williams participated in the Australian Open two weeks into her pregnancy (Crooney, 2017). In 2017, Fraser announced her pregnancy and did not participate in the London 2018 Championships (Leslie, 2017). Nevertheless, she will not let motherhood prevent her from competing again. After giving birth in August, the decorated athlete returned to rigorous training in October and is planning a comeback in 2018 (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Back on Track, 2017).
Alexander, J. C. (2014). The Antinomies of Classical Thought: Marx and Durkheim (Theoretical Logic in Sociology) (Vol. 2). Routledge. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=qhdxAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=conflict+theory+karl+marx&ots=E1V9emZuXN&sig=H-Q5NV5ogqlYg5DDWcZmDmGvpDY&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=conflict%20theory%20karl%20marx&f=false
Crooney, S. (2017, April 17). Serena Williams Joins Long List of Athletes Who Have Competed While Pregnant. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/4757244/female-athletes-competing-winning-while-pregnant/
Eugene. (2016, May 28). Shelly's Test - Fraser-Pryce Returns To High-Quality Pre-Classic. The Gleaner. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20160528/shellys-test-fraser-pryce-returns-high-quality-pre-classic
Lawrence, H. (2016, August 23). Coaching Milestone for Stephen Francis. The Star. Retrieved from http://jamaica-star.com/article/sports/20160823/coaching-milestone-stephen-francis
Leslie, S. (2017, March 8). Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Confirms She Is Pregnant Pulls Out London 2017 World Championships. Retrieved from Urban Isalandz: https://urbanislandz.com/2017/03/08/shelly-ann-fraser-pryce-confirms-pregnant/
Lindstrom, S. (2018). Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce: Jamaican Sprinter. Retrieved from Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Shelly-Ann-Fraser-Pryce
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price: The Pocket Rocket. (2018). Retrieved from Olympic Games: https://www.olympic.org/shelly-ann-fraser-pryce
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Back on Track. (2017, September 29). Retrieved from Caribbean National Weekly: https://www.caribbeannationalweekly.com/caribbean-breaking-news-featured/shelly-ann-back-track/
Shelly-Ann launches Pocket Rocket Foundation. (2013, May 21). Jamaica Observer. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Shelly-Ann-launches-Pocket-Rocket-Foundation_14301955
Tuluwani, H. (2012, February). One Thousand Reasons to Love Shelly-Ann Fraser. Retrieved from A Moment in Time: http://moti-athletics-roadtoolympics.blogspot.co.ke/2012/02/one-thousand-reasons-to-love-shelly-ann.html
Walker, H. (2017, February 2). Fraser-Pryce Braces for Uncertain Year as Niggling Foot Injury Persists. Jamaica Observer. Retrieved from Jamaica Observer: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Fraser-Pryce-braces-for-uncertain-year-as-niggling-foot-injury-persists
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