Before last Sunday only seven women belonged to the sub-seven-second club in the 60-metre sprint. Shelly Ann-Frazer Pryce became member number eight. The reigning Olympic and World Champion joined an even more elite club of only two female athletes who have held the 60m, 100m and 200m World titles, joining her countrywoman Veronica Campbell-Brown who prior to Sunday was alone in that category.
6.98 seconds makes Fraser – Pryce the fastest woman in the world today, the second fastest Jamaican woman ever over the distance. What is amazing is that she could have gone even faster. Those with keen eyes know that had she not abandoned her form a bit and drifted across her lane, she could very well have ended that final in Sopot, Poland on Sunday, March 9, not only snatching the world title but also the title as fastest Jamaican ever. However, it was not to be and so Merlene Ottey’s record of 6.96 still stands.
There is no doubt that barring injury or other things unforseen, Shelly Ann Frazer-Pryce could end up being classified as the best ever by the time she decides to hang up her spikes for good. With two Olympic 100-metre titles, two 100-metre World titles and a 200-metre World title as well as the World Indoor 60m title already under her belt, should she become the first woman to win three world titles in Beijing next year and the first to win back-to-back-to-back Olympic 100m titles there could be no argument as to who is the greatest female sprinter of all time.
The Wolmer’s old girl is 27 now and would be 29 by the time the Summer Games roll around in 2016. A consistent 10.7 sprinter, Frazer-Pryce is at a level where no other female sprinter is at this time. There are however, others who will challenge. Blessing Okagbare, Murielle Ahoure, and a handful of Americans English Gardener, Octavious Freeman and Alexandria Anderson among them, are not so far behind. Each of these ladies is younger than the Jamaican and have legitimate shots at her title as world’s fastest woman, but as of this moment there is none who can match Frazer-Pryce’s killer instinct.
It’s not just the winning that makes the little sprinter from Waterhouse great. History is filled with examples of athletes, both male and female, who possessed the talent but who lacked the stomach for a real fight. Shelly Ann Frazer-Pryce is not among them. Her record speaks for itself. When it comes to championship races she rarely loses. In fact, when you look more closely you will see how astonishing her record is.
At the 2008 Olympic 100-metre finals in Beijing, China, her first ever Olympic finals – Frazer-Pryce clocked a personal best 10.78s to win gold and become the first Jamaican woman to claim an Olympic 100-metre title. The following year at the World Championships in Berlin she cops another gold in another personal best of 10.73, becoming the second Jamaican woman to win a 100-metre World title.
At the London Olympics in 2012, SAFP clocked 10.75s for gold in the 100m and 22.09s for second place in the 200m. In Moscow in 2013, she 10.71s to win the 100m against a very deeply talented field. The race featured the second fastest woman of all time, Carmelita Jeter, and five other women who had personal bests below 10.90s and still she won by more than two-tenths of second, the largest margin in World Championship history. She also won the 200m, her first global title in the event, in 22.17s.
When you add Sunday;s gold medal, Shelly Ann Frazer-Pryce would have been involved in eight individual finals in global events since 2008 and won six. In 2011, injuries and surgery severely hampered her season and she still managed 10.99s for fourth in the finals of the 100m. Only injury it seems can stop her.
Her record tells you quite clearly that she has iced-water running through her veins. She thrives on taking on the very best and besting them. Her margin of victory over the field in Moscow last summer was incredible. Only Florence Griffith-Joyner had a bigger winning margin in 1988 at a global championship.
Some will argue that she would need the world record and faster times in the 200m to be considered the greatest and maybe there is some merit to that argument. Merlene Ottey with time of 10.74 and 21.64 is perhaps Jamaica’s best all-round sprinter. Veronica Campbell Brown 10.76 and 21.74s is also right there, Shelly is ranked way down in the 200-metres as her personal best of 22.07 ranks way behind Ottey, Grace Jackson 21.72), Veronica Campbell-Brown, Juliet Cuthbert (21.75) and Kerron Stewart (21.99). However, based on what we have seen of the Pocket Rocket so far this season, all that could change at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. We wait to see what will unfold.
There are arguments to be made about the claim that SAFP is the GOAT, but there can be none to dispute that she is already in rarefied air.