Fraser-Pryce aims for third 100m gold
Can reach landmark before Usain Bolt
Not running 200m due to toe injury
Heading back to college after Olympics
If she beats Usain Bolt to sprinting history, she will do it with her own porridge.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is in a Jamaican supermarket when CNN reaches her. She’s stocking up for her pre-Games camp in Italy. A full third of her baggage on the flight will be food from home.
“I have to make sure I’m not having too much pizza,” the 29-year-old winner of two straight Olympic women’s 100 meters titles says. “I carry stuff from here with me – my granola bars, my porridge, my milk, my sausages, my crackers, my chips, everything.
“That way, I know what I’m eating.”
Maybe it’s the suspicious mind of a woman caught out once before, in 2010, when a banned (but not performance-enhancing) painkiller turned up in her urine sample and earned her a six-month suspension. But then, maybe she just really likes the food she makes in Jamaica.
The porridge sachets are coming to Rio, too – where they could form the ultimate breakfast of champions, if Fraser-Pryce wins a third consecutive 100m gold.
She would be the first Olympian to do so, with her final the night before compatriot Usain Bolt hopes to complete the same feat. Make the final, cross that line in first place, and she will beat her illustrious Jamaica teammate to at least one spot in the history books.
“At least I’d have something over him!” she giggles.
At precisely five-foot tall, Fraser-Pryce is so firmly, literally, installed within the shadow of six-foot five-inch Bolt that journalists cannot get away from the comparison.
The winner of the past two men’s 100m Olympic gold medals is a superstar, one of the world’s most recognizable athletes. He makes a handful of appearances each year and retains the aura of the untouchable, even when the data suggests he is by no means certain to win again in Rio.
Fraser-Pryce, who also triumphed in Beijing 2008 and London 2012, matches Bolt medal for medal over 100m at the Olympics and world championships. Somehow, that isn’t common knowledge.
“I’m over it,” she sighs. “Usain is a tremendous athlete. He’s the greatest athlete the world has seen – he has that, nobody can take that away from him.
“But female athletes have also done great things.”
Fraser-Pryce wants more recognition for her gender’s sporting achievements, not just hers.
In the meantime, beating Bolt to a sprint treble will do. “We’ve never spoken about it, but of course I’d like to to have that,” she chuckles. “So I can tell him I have something he wants.”
Scoring that little victory over Jamaica’s sprinting giant will require conquering a troublesome toe injury.
Fraser-Pryce is not used to dealing with this. In a decade of elite running, she has barely been injured: A small knee problem in 2014 and now this, more serious issue with a toe on her left foot.
“On a pain scale of one to 10, about an eight,” she frankly admits. For anyone prepared to dismiss a toe injury as minor, eight out of 10 is a pretty high score coming from an Olympian.
“There’s restriction in the movement of my toe, it’s inflamed, and it causes a lot of pain. Right now I have a toe straightener on, and I also cushion my toe whenever I’m training,” she says.
“The pain is there, but to be honest I’m working through it. I guess that’s what success is, when you want something more than anything else.” Again, she deflects the issue with a joke: “As long as I know it’s not going to break, I’m fine.”