In a flash, the Jamaican sprinter with her hair dyed green and yellow flew down the track, through the interview room and out of the stadium.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce can only hope to be that fast in the 100 meters when she goes for a third straight Olympic title on Saturday.
Make room, Usain Bolt, you’re not the only one trying for a little bit of history on the track in Rio de Janeiro.
Fraser-Pryce is often overshadowed by her famous teammate, but really takes a backseat to no one. She’s the unquestioned favorite, too, even if she’s been dealing with a sore toe. Fraser-Pryce had the fastest time in the first round Friday in 10.96 seconds.
But don’t hand her that crown just yet. She still has to make it out of the semifinals and hold off a talented field in the final.
“Anybody can be beat. Anything can happen on any day,” said American sprinter Tianna Bartoletta, one of five women to crack 10.8 seconds this year. “You don’t go into a race thinking about how to beat a specific person. You go into a race thinking about how to conquer yourself and execute your perfect race.”
The 29-year-old Fraser-Pryce, who was the flag bearer for the Jamaicans at the opening ceremony, won the 100 at the world championships in Beijing last August.
“When you have five girls who can run 10.7 and better, it’s going to be a good race,” American sprinter English Gardner said. “I definitely foresee a fast time in this final. If I could take a wild guess, I’d say someone’s going to run 10.6 and hopefully it’s me. I have one job, and that’s to stop the clock, and not let any other girl do it before me.”
ELAINE THOMPSON: She has the world’s fastest time this season (10.70 seconds) and beat Fraser—Pryce at the Jamaican trials. In her country, Thompson is considered the next big thing.
GARDNER, BARTOLETTA Finished 1-2 at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month. Gardner always talks about wanting to “shock the world,” and this would definitely qualify. Bartoletta will get another chance at a gold medal next week in the long jump, where she’s the reigning world champion.
DAFNE SCHIPPERS The former heptathlon standout is known more for the 200 meters. But the 24-year-old Dutchwoman finished second in the 100 at the world championships last August in Beijing.
TORI BOWIE Taken in by her grandmother as an infant after she was left at a foster home, Bowie was coaxed into track as a teenager and has shined ever since. She won a bronze medal at last year’s worlds.
MURIELLE AHOURE Carried the flag for Ivory Coast in the opening ceremony. Could be carrying away a medal as a dark horse. Born in the Ivory Coast, she moved to Paris when she was 2 and the U.S. at 12. She has a degree in criminal law from the University of Miami.