Every time Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce steps on the track, some sort of record is in jeopardy.
At the top of that list, of course, is Florence Griffith Joyner’s 33-year-old mark in the 100 meters.
At the upcoming Olympics, Fraser-Pryce, the 34-year-old mother from Jamaica, also could become the oldest person to win an individual Olympic sprint. And, she could become the first woman to win three 100-meter gold medals at the Games.
Not bad for an athlete who feared her career was over four years ago.
“Commitment is everything — today’s failure prepares you for tomorrow’s success,” Fraser-Pryce tweeted recently.
Where the world used to look to another Jamaican, Usain Bolt, to rewrite history at the Olympics, Bolt’s retirement turns the spotlight over to Fraser-Pryce, who is now the most-accomplished active 100-meter sprinter in the world.
The chances for the “Pocket Rocket” to put her name in the history book starts July 30 in Tokyo. Those chances increased dramatically earlier this month when the runner considered her main threat, American Sha’Carri Richardson, was banned for a positive test for marijuana.
Even without Richardson in the race, the sprints still have star power.
Dina Asher-Smith, the British speedster who won 200-meter gold and 100-meter silver at the 2019 world championships, will be in the lineup, along with Shericka Jackson of Jamaica, who is now on the short list of women to run sub-11 seconds in the 100, sub-22 in the 200 and sub-50 in the 400.
IN BOLT’S SHADOW
For the first time since 2004, someone other than Bolt will be the Olympic champion in the men’s 100 and 200.
Bolt’s bet for the 100? Trayvon Bromell, who won the U.S. track trials after overcoming issues with his Achilles that nearly ended his career.
A 17-year-old named Erriyon Knighton is already breaking Bolt’s under-20 records in the 200. Knighton figures to give world champion Noah Lyles a run for his money in the event.
HURDLES TO CLEAR
For the moment, the women’s 400-meter hurdles world record stands at 51.90 seconds and belongs to 21-year-old Sydney McLaughlin.
Heavy emphasis on “for the moment.”
McLaughlin set the mark at U.S. trials when she edged Dalilah Muhammad to earn the victory. McLaughlin’s time was good enough to better Muhammad’s old world record by 0.26.
HEAT IS ON
Because of the expected extreme heat, the marathon and race walks have been moved from Tokyo to Sapporo.
Three-time high jump world champion Mariya Lasitskene will be a favorite. The team is limited because of sanctions.
Russia will compete under the acronym “ROC” — for Russian Olympic Committee — in Tokyo.