Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce Talks Jamaican Pride And Having ‘Mutual Respect’ For Fellow Runners

After clinching another Olympic win, Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce isn’t losing sight of what really matters.

Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Fraser-Pryce scored the world’s fastest women’s 100m in nearly 33 years, as Blavity previously reported. She was picked among one of the favorites to take on the gold in the Olympic games, joining the names of fellow Jamaican runners Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson. But she tells 21Ninety that there’s more to winning. 

Another sprinter who was anticipated to run in Japan was American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson. After much anticipation leading up to the games and the suspension of Richardson, the Jamaican women cleared the top three spots.

But that still didn’t stop the media from pitting the women against each other.

“I think for me, how I handle it is just stay true to who I am, be who I am, show my personality, stand at the line, and perform and dominate,” she said of the competition, adding that “you still have a mutual respect for each other.”

“For me, I’m not going to stand in the shadows. I’m not going to stand at the line and act like I don’t want it. I want it just as much as you do. So even though they’re pitting us against each other, we’re still competitive athletes. We still want to win, but we still have mutual respect for each other because you cross the line, that’s it,” she continued. “It’s good to have the media being focused on us as women and what we are bringing to the table and how we’re showing up and how we’re dominating.

Fraser-Pryce, however, knows that’s where the competition stops and reality sets in.

Now, looking back on her success and joining the ranks of her fellow Jamaicans, Fraser-Pryce says she is proud of her culture and where she comes from. 

Despite not being related, the 34-year-old said they are all “connected through our shared vision and our legacy of making things work for us.”

“Because we don’t have a lot of big things, but we’ve always known to work with what we have,” she shared with 21Ninety, reflecting on a popular saying in her country—”we make our hands to fashion.”

“So it’s a saying that we take anything and we take it and we make it into fashion. We make it come alive,” she explained. “And we always seem to find a way to stand out with the little that we have.”

Fraser-Pryce says her community takes pride in standing out and making an impact, regardless of how trivial, adding that’s what she’s most “grateful” for as a Jamaican.

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