Jamaican great Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce said the Paris Games will be her fifth and final Olympics.
The 37-year-old sprinter, who won two gold medals at 100 meters and another in the 4×100 relay, told Essence.com she still loves the sport but will retire after Paris so she can spend more time with her husband and her 6-year-old son, Zyon.
“My son needs me,” she said. “My husband and I have been together since before I won in 2008. He has sacrificed for me. We’re a partnership, a team. And it’s because of that support that I’m able to do the things that I have been doing for all these years. And I think I now owe it to them to do something else.”
When Fraser-Pryce finished second as an unknown at the Jamaican Olympic trials in 2008, much of the conversation centered on whether she should be passed over for the more established Veronica Campbell Brown. That didn’t happen. A few weeks later, Fraser-Pryce went on to lead a Jamaican sweep in the 100 at the Beijing Games. It was the first of her eight Olympic medals. She also won four silvers — including one in Tokyo in 2021 — and one bronze.
“I undervalued myself going into Beijing,” she said in the interview with Essence. “I just wanted to make the finals. But when I crossed the line in first place, from that moment, I’ve never undervalued myself. I’m not just here for participation. I’m here to win.”
She also has won 10 gold medals at world championships, including six individual championships — five in the 100 and one in the 200. In 2019, she returned after the birth of her son and became the oldest woman to win the world title. She won it again in 2022 at age 35, which made her the first athlete to win five titles in an individual running event.
Fraser-Pryce finished third at the worlds last year and is considered a contender in Paris, along with defending world champion Sha’Carri Richardson and two-time defending Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah. She said it’s important to be leaving the sport on her own terms, and that the decision isn’t about whether she can still compete at the highest level.
“There’s not a day I’m getting up to go practice and I’m like, ‘I’m over this,’” Fraser-Pryce said.
AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games