Wed | Nov 21, 2018

'Pryceless' - Statue unveiled to honour multiple Olympic champion

Published:Monday | October 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce holds the maquette of her statue, shortly after it was presented to her by sculptor Basil Watson, during the unveiling of her statue in Statue Park at the National Stadium yesterday.
Olympian Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (second left) poses with the maquette of her statue which was unveiled at Statue Park at the National Stadium yesterday. Also pictured are sculptor Basil Watson (left), Sports Minister Olivia Grange (second right) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
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Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce's determination has been immortalised by a statue in Statue Park at Independence Park.

The statue was unveiled yesterday by Minister of Sport, Olivia Grange, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and sculptor Basil Watson.

"The statue of Fraser-Pryce raising her fist in celebration represents the diminutive sprinter's determination," Watson said.

Watson said his objective was to capture the determination Fraser-Pryce depicted when she crossed the line first in the women's 100m final at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Minister Grange said the statue will stand as a reminder that women from humble beginnings can rise above great obstacles.

"Her story is another among great Jamaican women who are born in humble circumstances, who are mindful of the glory they could bring to their families and communities, and set out to play their parts on the great woman stage. In doing so, Shelly-Ann has become a great model for girls, " Grange said.

Holness said: "Shelly-Ann is a true example of what we mean when we say 'Wi likkle but wi Tallawah."

 

STOOD BY RULES

 

Dr Warren Blake, President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), said the fist pump emblem that is captured in the statue was made possible because the executives of the association stood by its rules when they were widespread calls for Fraser-Pryce to be replaced by the then sprint-queen Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Fraser-Pryce had finished second in the women's 100m at the JAAA Senior Championships in 2008 and secured one of the three automatic spots to represent Jamaica in the 100m at the Beijing Games.

But the seasoned Campbell-Brown was preferred by the public, even though she was placed fourth in the race.

"When she placed second at the National Championship in 2008, she also pushed the more seasoned competitor (Campbell-Brown) into fourth and suggestions came from far and wide that the JAAA should violate its rules and replace the new and unproven Shelly-Ann with that competitor," Blake recalled. "She rose above that adversity to become the 2008 100m Olympic champion and it is that celebratory fist in the air that she did when she crossed the line that is forever captured by the statue we see here."

The two-time Olympic 100m champion has won 15 medals for Jamaica at the Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships, nine of which are gold.

She is also the joint national record holder in the 100m at 10.70 seconds with her MVP Track Club training partner Elaine Thompson.

Fraser Pryce was thankful for the honour.

"The honourable Minister Grange, I want to thank you for this initiative in making sure that our athletes, while still alive, can see their statues," she said.