Joy for Jamaica
By Clare Forrester in the Olympic Village
It was pure joy on Saturday night for Caribbean supporters when Jamaica’s national women's 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce retained the title internationally here in London and, with it, a piece of Olympic history.
Not only did she win the gold medal in a great time (10.75 seconds), but she became only the third woman ever to defend the 100m successfully, joining US athletes Gail Devers (Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996) and Wyomia Tyus (Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968).
In 2008, Fraser-Pryce was joined in victory by two other Jamaicans, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, who had then won the silver and bronze.
This time, it was another teammate, Veronica Campbell-Brown, who claimed the bronze in a time of 10.81 seconds, to assure Jamaica of two spots on the medal podium and first strike in the US v Jamaica battle for supremacy in the sprints.
The always confident Fraser-Pryce was bubbling after the race and made it known that she was not done yet, in response to a question from journalists about her chances in the 200m, in which she and VCB are due to compete later this week.
“I came here on a mission and it hasn’t been completed yet,” she said.
VCB was also pleased with her achievement, which guarantees her another trip to the podium. “I don’t know if I have 14 or 15 medals now,” she said, "I’m not really counting, but I worked hard for each one of them. I got a medal and I’m happy with that.”
So, too, are all Jamaicans, who are now assured of more cause for celebrating our Golden Jubilee on Monday, 6 August.
History in the making
Even more history was created in that brief span of time, as it was also the first time that more than half of the 100m field clocked in at under 11 seconds.
Two other US sprinters, Tianna Madison (10.85) and Allyson Felix (10.89), were fourth and fifth, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste was the other sprinter to dip under the 11 seconds barrier, in a time of 10.94.
As Saturday night’s blue riband event on the track, it was the last race of the night and a fitting ending to an absolutely great night for the UK as well as Jamaica’s team.
The UK claimed three gold medals (women’s heptathlon, men’s long jump and the men's 10,000m), so the massive stadium crowd was over the moon.