Fraser-Pryce breaking Flo Jo’s world record would be bigger achievement than Bolt. Can she do the impossible?

By Sports Desk June 12, 2021













Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce once again defied all expectations by clocking the fastest time run over 100m by a woman in 33 years, and, in the process, inched closer to one of the most enduring records in all of sports, Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 10.49.

With the Olympic Games fast approaching on the horizon, but still plenty of time left to go even faster, Fraser-Pryce, the most dominant force in women’s sprinting for over a decade, must certainly have her eyes set on the only prize that has eluded her thus far.

But, even Fraser-Pryce’s sparkling new personal best time of 10.63, which sets her up as a prohibitive favourite for a third 100m title at this summer’s Olympic Games, is still 0.14th of a second off the long-standing, iron-clad mark set by the American in 1988. 

For many who watched Fraser-Pryce's race, however, as impressive as it was, the time seems to have been set with the athlete having something in reserve.  Knowing Fraser-Pryce, the question of how much faster can she go is one that will only be answered when the lights are brightest on the Tokyo Games world stage.   She has freely admitted that, despite the fast time, she had only been focused on executing the race properly and the thought of running 10.6 had not crossed her mind. 

Since it was set at the USA trial in 1988, Flo-Jo’s record has continued to court controversy.  While some have pointed to unsubstantiated claims of drug use, some scholars have argued that the wind reading for the event could not have been correct.  The athlete’s time of 10.49 was recorded with a wind reading of 0.0, despite, according to reports and footage analysis, there being clear evidence of wind at the venue.  Despite that, it, however, remains on World Athletics books as the target to beat.

With all the controversy surrounding the record and how much the unbeatable mark has weighed down women’s sprinting, Fraser-Pryce managing to break the time would arguably be a bigger achievement than the 100m time set by Bolt.  Prior to Bolt breaking the record the first time in 2008 (9.72), the previous holder was Asafa Powell who ran 9.74 and that was in 2007 and before that Powell again in 2005.  Female sprinters have craned their necks to look up at Flo-Jo’s mark for 33 years.

In an illustrious career, Fraser-Pryce has made it a habit of rewriting the rules in terms of what’s possible.  At 34-years-old she has not only said but proven that age is just a number and repeatedly silenced doubters with her work ethic, patience, and determination.

When she struck gold in the women’s 100m, at the Doha World Championships, she became the oldest female sprinter to win a global 100m title, amazingly, two years later she is running even faster than that.

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