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35-year-old mom Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the world's fastest woman: 'Victory for motherhood'

Fraser-Pryce says she 'felt like a champion' when her son praised her for winning the 100m sprint in Oregon.

EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 18: Gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Team Jamaica on day four of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 18, 2022, in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won a record fifth 100m world title at the World Championships in Oregon at the age of 35. Fraser-Pryce, who's a mom to a 4-year-old son, called it “a victory for motherhood.” Fraser-Pryce is Jamaica's most decorated athlete after Usain Bolt and yet many had written off the 35-year-old prior to the World Championships. She was determined to prove them wrong. Fraser-Pryce clocked 10.67 seconds, beating Shericka Jackson and favorite Elaine Thompson-Herah, two-time Olympic champion, by 0.06 and 0.14 seconds respectively. It was a clean sweep for the Jamaican sprinters. As Fraser-Pryce crossed the finish line, her eyes shot to the screen where her name come up first. An ecstatic Fraser-Pryce pumped her fist and let out a visceral scream toward the stands as her green-tinted locks jumped with her. “So many people believe that when women turn 35, it somehow diminishes our gift, our talent,” said Fraser-Pryce, reported The Huffpost. “But I’m still able to line up and compete, and that is very special.”

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EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 17: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Team Jamaica celebrates after winning gold the Women's 100m Final on day three of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 17, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 17: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Team Jamaica celebrates after winning gold the Women's 100m Final on day three of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 17, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

 

Fraser-Pryce's win in Oregon makes it five titles, adding to her wins in 2009, ’13, ’15 and ’19. She secured her fifth world title in the 100m, two more than Bolt has won. "It's my favorite world title — doing it at 35, yes, I said 35," said Fraser-Pryce, reported CNN. "Whenever I'm healthy, I'm going to compete. I'm hungry, I'm driven and I always believe I can run faster and I'm not going to stop until I stop believing that." Her victory comes five years after getting an emergency C-section to deliver her son Zyon in 2017. It took her more than two years away from athletics to rehabilitate and focus on motherhood. The two-time Olympics champion (2008, 2012) always believed in herself and worked to make a successful comeback. "It's not easy, I don't just turn up. I have to work," she said. "I can't even imagine the amount of times I've had setbacks and I've bounced back and I'm here again. To continue to do it at 35, having a baby, still going — hopefully, I'm inspiring women that they can make their own journey."

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Her recovery and progress weren't linear though. She finished second to Thompson-Herah at the Olympics in Tokyo and a huge margin—0.13 seconds. She was left frustrated but the loss also drove her to push herself more. “I went back home and I worked and I worked and I came out here, and I had the success,” the sprinter said. While Fraser-Pryce may not have been a favorite for the win in Oregon, there was no shortage of supporters for the Jamaican. Many of them could be seen donning “Shelly-Ann” T-shirts that also had her face on it. Her fans were ecstatic with her win, busy high-fiving themselves after she pipped Shericka Jackson to the title. Among them was Errol Byles, a former elite sprinter in Jamaica.

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She met Fraser-Pryce on a plane. She asked for a couple of T-shirts before the World Championship and wore them proudly in the stands. “She has the heart of a champion and she’s determined to prove everybody wrong,” said Byles. “Now that she’s older and she’s a mom, there are some that think she’s not as good as the others. But she’s determined to prove otherwise, and she’s doing that.” Thompson-Herah might have finished third but was happy about Jamaicans completing a sweep of the event. “It means a lot to us. We have been working hard,” she said. “One-two-three at the Olympics, and one-two-three at championships. Even though I wanted to win, it didn’t work out. But I’m still keeping the journey going,” she said. 

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EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 18: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Team Jamaica competes in the Women's 200m heats on day four of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 18, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 18: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Team Jamaica competes in the Women's 200m heats on day four of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 18, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

 

She wrote a post about returning to track after giving birth. "Being an athlete is my chosen profession and being a mother is a gift! To perform both roles, without sacrificing one for the other is a responsibility and commitment I take very seriously.⁠⁠ And while I'm focused on my dreams, my ultimate dream for Zyon is that he leads in every area of his life. To lead with love, honor, and respect. But most importantly to serve, because if he serves he will lead⁠," she wrote.

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