'No matter where you are from you can achieve great things' says Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
To win a third Olympic 100 metres gold medal in Tokyo this week will bring sporting immortality to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and ensure she is spoken about in the same way as her Jamaican compatriot Usain Bolt.
Now 34, you would think she might be one of the athletes who feels that the delay of a year to the Olympic Games in Tokyo could have jeopardised her hopes, but Shelly-Ann has a wonderful philosophy of her life and her sport.
So much so, that she ran her personal best of 10.63 just six weeks ago. The second fastest 100 metres ever run by a woman.
Talking at the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards, she said: “I've been fortunate or blessed to have been to three Olympics before and each Olympics have given me different experiences. Having those experiences will definitely help going into Tokyo.
“In 2008 I had experiences where my country didn't want me to represent the country because they thought I was too young and I didn't have any experience going to any Olympics. But for me it was a moment where I kind of re-defined what young meant and what experience meant. How do you get experience if you don't allow us to try?
“I was fortunate to have that experience and come away with the victory. And what was amazing was that Jamaica finished first, second and second. [Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart dead-heated in the same time]. It just spoke how incredible the depth of our sprinting was.
“It was one of my most amazing championships, for a young girl like me coming from an inner city and from a single parent and being able to achieve an ultimate that everybody wanted to achieve, was mind-blowing for me and inspirational. And sent the message that it doesn't matter where you're from, you can achieve great things.”
London in 2012 taught Shelly-Ann another lesson: learning to cope with the different pressure of being the athlete that everyone expects to win. She not only won her second 100 metres gold medal, but also silver medals in the 200 metres and the sprint relay.
Rio in 2016 created another situation to which Shelly-Ann needed to adapt and show her resilience. As she recalls: “I was running before Usain, so I was chasing becoming the first man or woman to win three Olympic 100 metres gold medals. I was also having one of my worst seasons where I had a toe injury and I hadn't been training and I was nervous and didn't know what to expect.
“But I said to myself, it's four years to get to an Olympics and it doesn't matter what happened, I'm standing at the line and I'm giving it everything that I have. But I was not just running for a gold medal, I was running to prove to myself that sometimes life will hit us hard and it's up to us, no matter what, to show up and give it our best shot.”
Shelly-Ann was in pain. She says the experience was horrible, but she was determined to fight. She came away with a bronze medal. “That for me was amazing because every Olympic dream had told a story of commitment, of sacrifice and of comeback.”
There will be a global audience this weekend watching Shelly-Ann trying to win her third 100 metres gold medal. It is predicted to be one of the races of the Olympic Games, against other determined athletes such as Elaine Thompson-Herah, Dina Asher-Smith, Shericka Jackson, Blessing Okagbare and Brianna Williams.
Whatever happens, you know that for Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce it will be another experience that will not be wasted. There will be something to learn, particularly if it is accompanied by another gold medal.