Jamaican sprinter, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce: “I had never dreamed that I would be an Olympian”

We had great fun catching up with Jamaican sprint icon, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce about her multiple Olympic wins and how she seems to manage four careers at the same time!

So Shelly Ann, let’s start with where you are currently, what’s next for you in the coming weeks?

Well I just recently I just finished my six-aside football competition in the local community, which is an initiative designed to bring the community together and have the young men play in a respectable manner. I I’ve just come to the end of that, it was nine weeks and I crowned the champion on Sunday. I do like to watch football, I am an Arsenal fan.

 

How would you sum up your Rio experience?

Well to be honest, I was trying to chase history by becoming the first woman to win three consecutive 100m Olympic gold medals. I had been injured so that was very difficult for me leading up to the Olympics but eventually I was able to just let go and know that God is in control. In the long run, whatever happened I knew that he would work it all for my good, so going to the games I had a peace and was relaxed knowing that I had done everything that I could. Getting there was hard but then actually being there, I was just enjoying the moment.

Obviously, you’ve had some great personal achievements at past Olympics but is there one standout performance or occasion?

2008 was really memorable because no one knew who I was, I didn’t even know who I was! I was facing so many things but I just wanted to go and enjoy the experience, I wasn’t thinking about winning a medal. Then I won and I couldn’t believe it, I had never dreamed that I would be an Olympian, I knew that I had talent but didn’t expect to make it as a professional athlete.

The recent experience of Rio finally taught me who I was, this year was a growth experience and placed me on higher ground. In life not everything is about us, it’s about the people that we inspire. God gives us different experiences so that we can share that testimony. The Olympics have taught me so much.

 

Off the track you have your Pocket Rocket foundation and also your hair business, how do you balance it all?

I have a cafe on the university campus where we give college students the ultimate experience of good food whilst they chill and get their work done. I also have a hair salon and my foundation where we give student athletes fellowships, to help them find the balance between studies and their sport. If you can use what you learn in the classroom and the field together, then you are able to transform your life. It’s about passion, I am passionate about all of these things and am just one of those people who, if I say I am going to do something, I will give it one hundred and ten percent.

Could you tell us how you came to know God for yourself?

I grew up in church, I would always go to my church camp and I remember that we had no access to cell phones or television, it was just us, getting to meet new people. That week was so refreshing because we were separated from the world and I was able to make the decision that Christ is what I wanted. When I came back from there I got baptised but then later on in high school, I wanted to take the route that my friends were taking, so it was a case of being in church on Sunday but during the week I was with my friends and doing all kinds of things.

I strayed, but inside, consciously I knew that there was something calling me, still. God wanted me and I knew it so each time I did something that wasn’t right my conscience would always start to bug me. In the end I stopped going to church because I was just angry at everybody.

It wasn’t until 2008 that I prayed whilst training and I still remembered how to talk to God, how to read my bible and I still knew that God was important. I remember sitting down, thinking that the Olympics is coming up and prayed for blessing and strength. I remember thinking, since God has done this for me, I need to honour him in the decisions that I make. His promises are always true, so I started going back to church and whilst it was hard, I was making progress. I eventually found my way back, It’s a learning curve each and every day but I know that he never changes, even when we are not deserving.

How do you use the sporting platform that God has given you to point others to him?

For me it is about being genuine, I don’t believe in forcing people and whatever you do, it must come from the heart. It makes what you are doing even more powerful. When I am on screen, I have always known who the glory goes to, it’s important that people know that he is important to me. God has given us the opportunity to compete whether we acknowledge him in it or not. He gives us the talent and then it is up to us to use it.

It is hard to be a role model sometimes because people take certain things and judge you as a Christian, but I believe that the platform he has given me is to show that here I am sinful and broken, yet here he is, able to forgive us. We shouldn’t worry about what the world has to say because we can’t please it, they will always have something to say.

 

Who would you say is the best athlete that you have competed against?

I would have to say Carmelita Jeter, over the years, competing with her, whenever she is in the race you know that you must show up. You cannot have a bad race against her because she is a fierce competitor. I like that about her because I know that when I am racing against her I know I need to be at my best, when it is time to run she is just focused and ready.

 

What do you reckon you would have ended up doing if you hadn’t made it as a pro athlete?

I am not good at anything to be honest, I think I can sing but that is me in the bathroom at home. Seriously, I love children and I love to help with fundraising, I’m good at raising money and campaigning so I would probably be an event planner.

 

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