World Champs Women’s 100 — Let’s Hear It For Motherhood

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is back dashing as well as ever after delivering son Zyon. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

EVERY BIT AS GOOD as what Mom used to make. Before she was a mom. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, quintessential major championships sprinter and now 32 years old, came roaring back after a maternity leave in ’17 to claim a fourth World Champs 100 gold with signature blinding acceleration. Her list-leading 10.71, history’s =No. 11 performance, left Dina Asher-Smith and her British Record 10.83 behind, with Marie-Josée Ta Lou 3rd in 10.90 and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson 4th at 10.93. The winning mark also equaled SAFP’s second-fastest clocking ever, just 0.01 off her 10.70 PR from ’12. The medalists had an interesting thing in common: all have hyphens in their names.

To be sure, those who would clip the trajectory of Jamaica’s 5-3 (1.60) “Pocket Rocket” showed sharp in the rounds. In her heat, Côte d’Ivoirian Ta Lou, a compact sprinter herself at 5-2½ (1.59), equaled the 10.85 best she ran at the Doha DL in ’18. Asher-Smith, too, went under 11-flat with a 10.96 in her heat. Yet Fraser-Pryce, her head sporting a bright yellow wig, had set an even higher tone winning heat I in 10.80.

Formchart favorite Thompson had scored a same-time 10.73 win over SAFP at the Jamaican Championships in June but looked either off or laying back through 11.14 heat and 11.00 semi performances. Meanwhile Ta Lou and Asher-Smith put up 10.87 wins in the penultimate round before Fraser-Pryce, now coiffed in the colors of a rainbow, drilled semi II in 10.81 from Murielle Ahouré (11.05 same as her heat mark). Surprise USATF winner Teahna Daniels was the sole American to reach the final, as defending world champion Tori Bowie scratched from her heat, Morolake Akinosun went out in the first round and English Gardner went down injured (apparent hamstring pull) in semi II.

Two hours on from the semis, the finalists took to their camera-equipped blocks before a sparsely populated stadium; it was 11:20pm on a “school night.” Fraser-Pryce gave the empty seats and those privileged few in attendance a performance to remember. She wasted no time, blasting out from the blocks in lane 6 instantaneously ahead. Asher-Smith in corridor 7 pounced quickly as well, but 6 or 7 staccato-steps in the Jamaican had control, and never relinquished it. As SAFP and DAS separated themselves from the rest, Ahouré in lane 8 was dashing well in 3rd before Ta Lou and Thompson left her in the second half.

A measure of Fraser-Pryce’s formidable get-up-and-go came at 60m, where she split 6.81. While intermediate-point timing has been in place only sporadically over the years, the previous fastest recorded was 6.85 by Jones in that 10.70 race of ‘99. Here Asher-Smith split 6.91, Ta Lou 6.95 and Thompson 6.96.

Fraser-Pryce leaned energetically at the line to cross a meter-plus up on Asher-Smith. The last couple of strides and a lean separated Ta Lou as a medalist from Thompson. The winner cared nought that the in-stadium crowd was embarrassingly sparse. Son Zyon and husband Jason were on hand, and she said, “Even though there were only a thousand people in the stands, the two most important people were there able to see me compete. I can’t ask for anything else.”

She said of her road back to fitness since childbirth, “It was hard. I was really scared when I had to do a C-section and was out for nearly 10 weeks. I was unable to lift weights on my back. So it was a long journey coming back physically and mentally because I was 30 and everyone else was running fast. I was worried about whether I was going to come back OK. I just really worked hard. When I heard people said I should call it a day, I just knew I wasn’t ready to go. I knew I had something left to do. I never lost focus on the goal and the dream.”

This win, she added, “was one of those moments I am really proud of because for women in athletics it’s very hard to take a break and come back to sprinting. It took a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice.”

It also elicited a lot of “Wow!”


WC WOMEN’S 100 RESULTS

FINAL

(September 29; wind +0.1) (temperature 88F/31C; humidity 71%)

1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jam) 10.71 (WL) (x, =11 W);

2. Dina Asher-Smith (GB) 10.83 NR;

3. Marie-Josée Ta Lou (CI) 10.90;

4. Elaine Thompson (Jam) 10.93;

5. Murielle Ahouré (CI) 11.02;

6. Jonielle Smith (Jam) 11.06;

7. Teahna Daniels (US) 11.19;

… dnc—Dafne Schippers (Neth).

Lanes: 3. Daniels; 4. Ta Lou; 5. Thompson; 6. Fraser-Pryce; 7. Asher-Smith; 8. Ahouré; 9. Smith.

Reaction times: 0.117 Smith; 0.129 Asher-Smith; 0.134 Fraser-Pryce; 0.142 Ahouré; 0.143 Thompson; 0.156 Daniels; 0.171 Ta Lou.

HEATS

(September 28)

I(-0.2)–1. Fraser-Pryce 10.80; 2. Ahouré 11.05; 3. Gina Lückenkemper (Ger) 11.29; 4. Ewa Swoboda (Pol) 11.29;

5. Diana Vaisman (Isr) 11.39; 6. Tebogo Mamathu (SA) 11.42; 7. Andrea Purica (Ven) 11.96; 8. Saraswati Chaudhary (Nep) 12.72 PR.

II(-0.3)–1. Ta Lou 10.85 =PR; 2. Daryll Neita (GB) 11.12 PR; 3. Tatjana Pinto (Ger) 11.19; 4. Yongli Wei (Chn) 11.28; 5. Crystal Emmanuel (Can) 11.30;

6. Marije van Hunenstijn (Neth) 11.48; 7. Inna Eftimova (Bul) 11.79; 8. Gorete Semedo (STP) 12.17.

III(-0.4)–1. Thompson 11.14; 2. Kelly-Ann Baptiste (Tri) 11.21; 3. Morolake Akinosun (US) 11.23; 4. Manqi Ge (Chn) 11.28;

5. Orlann Ombissa-Dzangue (Fra) 11.34; 6. Asha Philip (GB) 11.35; 7. Dutee Chand (Ind) 11.48; 8. Zarinae Sapong (NMA) 13.14 PR.

IV(-0.1)–1. Asher-Smith 10.96; 2. English Gardner (US) 11.20; 3. Smith 11.20; 4. Tynia Gaither (Bah) 11.24;

5. Maja Mihalinec (Slo) 11.32; 6. Salomé Kora (Swi) 11.48; 7. Lorène Dorcas Bazolo (Por) 11.51; 8. Charlotte Afriat (Mon) 12.67.

V(-0.1)–1. Mujinga Kambundji (Swi) 11.17; 2. Xiaojing Liang (Chn) 11.18; 3. Tori Bowie (US) 11.30;

4. Angela Tenorio (Ecu) 11.40; 5. Vitoria Cristina Rosa (Bra) 11.41; 6. Zoe Hobbs (NZ) 11.58; 7. Hellen Makumba (Zam) 11.73 =PR.

VI(-0.3)–1. Schippers 11.17; 2. Daniels 11.20; 3. Gina Bass (Gam) 11.25; 4. Imani Lansiquot (GB) 11.31;

5. Rosângela Santos (Bra) 11.32; 6. Ajla Del Ponte (Swi) 11.36; 7. Olga Safronova (Kaz) 11.40; 8. Im Lan Loi (MAC) 12.10.

SEMIS

(September 29)

I(0.8)–1. Ta Lou 10.87; 2. Thompson 11.00; 3. Daniels 11.10;

4. Neita 11.18; 5. Gaither 11.20; 6. Bass 11.24; 7. Wei 11.28; 8. Lückenkemper 11.30.

II(0.5)–1. Asher-Smith 10.87; 2. Smith 11.06;

3. Kambundji 11.10; 4. Akinosun 11.17; 5. Liang 11.20; 6. Swoboda 11.27; 7. Emmanuel 11.29;… dnf—Gardner (injured c50m).

III(-0.4)–1. Fraser-Pryce 10.81; 2. Ahouré 11.05; 3. Schippers 11.07;

4. Baptiste 11.19; 5. Pinto 11.29; 6. Ge 11.31; 7. Lansiquot 11.35;… dnc—Bowie.

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