Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leads Jamaican sweep in 100 meters; Philadelphia Eagles’ Devon Allen DQ’d from 110 hurdles for false start

EUGENE, Ore. – That smile from miles away came a split second later. When Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce saw her name appear in the 100-meter final on Sunday night’s first night, she pumped her right fist twice and let out a loud yell towards the stands.

Yes, she made it. Again.

And shame on anyone who thought it was over for Jamaica’s most famous 100-meter sprinter this side of Usain Bolt.

The 35-year-old mother raced back to the top of the sprint game and won her fifth world title in the 100 – that’s two more than Bolt has amassed in his decade of dominance – by leading a Jamaican sweep and knocking off the favorite, two-time Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson -Herah.

“So many people think that women turning 35 somehow diminish our ability, our talent,” Fraser-Pryce said. “But I can still line up and compete and that’s very special.”

Fraser-Pryce left lane 6 and led all the way on a beautiful 74 degree night, crossing the finish line in 10.67 seconds. She beat Shericka Jackson by 0.06 seconds while Thompson-Herah took a surprising third place with 10.81.

The smile came later. Lots of smiles indeed.

With her blonde hair tied up in a pigtail and green-toned locks blowing in the breeze, Fraser-Pryce gave fans smiles and snapped selfies with fans as she jogged through her victory lap.

It was a different scene from Tokyo last year, when she seemed confused and frustrated at how she could finish second by such a significant margin – 0.13 seconds – behind Thompson-Herah.

“I came back home and worked and worked and got out of here and found success,” said a beaming Fraser-Pryce in her on-track interview.

And considering, the night started with the thought that Thompson-Herah could beat Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 34-year-old world record of 10.49.

Less than a year ago, Thomson-Herah had run 10.54 at the same course in the Prefontaine Classic to join Flo Jo as the only other woman to score less than 10.6.

However, Fraser-Pryce previously ran an exact 10.6, and rather than lowering Griffith-Joyner’s record, it was one of Marion Jones’s – her 23-year world championship mark of 10.70 – that fell by the wayside.

Fraser-Pryce adds this to the world titles she won in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019 in the 100. She also won at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Unsurprisingly, the aftermath felt like a mini-party in the stadium’s aisles. Fraser-Pryce is still a fan favorite in Jamaica — and around the world. Dozens of ticket holders wearing “Shelly Ann” t-shirts — complete with a picture of her back when she was wearing braces — made their way to the exits, some high-fiving.

One of them, Errol Byles, a former elite sprinter in Jamaica, recounted meeting Fraser-Pryce on an airplane. They exchanged numbers and kept in touch. Worlds ago he asked them to send some shirts and they were worn with pride.

Byles recalled the mood in Jamaica when the 21-year-old, then known as Shelly-Ann Fraser, qualified for her first Olympics in 2008. I went to then world champion Veronica Campbell Brown.

Fraser took that spot, and then she led a Jamaican sweep in the 100. It felt like an undercard of sorts to Bolt’s hot dogging world record win the night before. Nevertheless, a star was born.

“She has the heart of a champion and is determined to prove everyone wrong,” Byles said. “Now that she’s older and a mother, there are some who think she’s not as good as the others. But she’s determined to prove her wrong, and she’s doing it.”

And so, one night after the United States took the podium in the men’s 100m, Fraser-Pryce & Co. showed there was still plenty of speed on the island.

Thompson-Herah, pacing slowly several steps behind Fraser-Pryce and Jackson early in the lap of honor, expressed mixed feelings.

“It means a lot to us. We worked hard,” she said. “One-two-three at the Olympics and 1-2-3 at championships. Although I wanted to win, it didn’t work out. But I continue the journey anyway.”

So does Fraser-Pryce.

Her latest win marks the defense of the title she won in 2019, a win that came two years after she missed the World Championships in London while having her baby, now 4-year-old son Zyon. She called it “a victory for motherhood.”

That night she also shared the story of how she sat on her bed and cried the day she found out she was pregnant. People felt her career was over. Not for a long time.

The Jamaican sweep offered a brief respite from what has become a fairly American show in the first few worlds staged in the United States. The US won nine medals on Sunday, marking the best single day for any country in the history of the world, according to meeting organizers. The old record was eight medals, won by the Soviet Union in 1991.

Minutes before the women’s 100-meter dash, Grant Holloway and Trey Cunningham finished the men’s 110-meter hurdles 1-2. The race could have been a success were it not for a false start by the former Oregon wide receiver hurdler Ducks and current Philadelphia Eagles player Devon Allen, who started second in the world rankings.

Allen’s reaction time exiting the starting block was 0.001 faster than the 0.1 second threshold allowed by World Athletics rule, meaning he had a false start and was disqualified.

The red card was met with boos from the crowd, and Allen took his time to leave the track, clearly displeased with the call.

“I’m just suffering [that] I couldn’t walk Just a thousandth of a second faster, the reaction,” he said. “We’re so close to the crowd that the fans in the stands are just so loud… just got distracted. It’s a little frustrating.”

As Cunningham said, “If they can show him undeniable footage, yes, they’ve moved [before the starting gun], your shoulder shrugged or something, then you have to go. And I don’t think they can show him that.”

Allen said he will now turn his attention to football.

“My goal is to play in the NFL and help the Eagles win a Super Bowl,” he told reporters.

Around the time of the men’s 110 hurdles final, Ryan Crouser put the finishing touches on America’s 1-2-3 finish in the shot put. It was Crouser’s second consecutive world title, along with winning the Olympics last year. His rival Joe Kovacs was second and teammate Josh Awotunde was third.

“We’re proud of it. We always say we’re the best shot-put country in the world and today we proved it,” said Kovacs.

Also at this point was the 2-1 success of American pole vaulters Katie Nageotte, who adds that to her title in Tokyo last year, and Sandi Morris, who now has three silver medals from world championships.

Earlier in the day, America’s Brooke Andersen and Janee’ Kassanavoid won gold and bronze in the hammer throw. At the end of Day 3, the US had 14 medals – 11 more than Jamaica and three other countries that took second place; and six gold medals, which was triple the total for second-placed Ethiopia.

One of Ethiopia’s gold coins came from Tamirat Tola in Sunday morning’s marathon. In the men’s 10,000 m, world record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Kenya defended his world title in 27:27.43. The other champion of the day was Mykolas Alekna of Lithuania in the discus throw.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leads Jamaican sweep in 100 meters; Philadelphia Eagles’ Devon Allen DQ’d from 110 hurdles for false start

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