LONDON — Of course the gold medal stays in Jamaica, mon. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce wouldn’t have it any other way.
A golden ribbon in her hair, the bubbly Jamaican made it back-to-back Olympic titles in the women’s 100 meters Saturday night, closing ground over the last 20 meters and leaning at the line to win in 10.75 seconds and edge American Carmelita Jeter by .03 seconds.
Fraser-Pryce became the first woman to repeat in the 100 since Gail Devers of the U.S. in 1992 and 1996.
Veronica Campbell-Brown finished third for her second career 100-meter bronze. Jamaica fell out of the running for a repeat of its sweep in Beijing after 2008 silver medalist Kerron Stewart failed to make it through the semifinals.
Doubt there will be much complaining in that island country, population 3 million, where the top industries are tourism — and, of course, mining precious medals out of Olympic host sites.
On Sunday, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake will try to keep the gold coming for Jamaica, which has now won six of the last seven medals awarded in the men’s and women’s Olympic sprinting events, including relays.
Given Bolt’s massive worldwide popularity, Fraser-Pryce sometimes takes second-billing in her home country. But those with a sense of the history there know what a big role women — Merlene Ottey and Campbell-Brown — have played in turning sprinting into the national pastime. Fraser-Pryce will now vault to the top of that list.
Four years ago, she was relatively unknown, a 21-year-old who first stunned her country, then the world, on her way to Olympic gold. There was a setback in 2010, a six-month ban for using a painkiller to treat a toothache.
“I felt like, ‘What am I going to do? Everyone is going to think I’m a cheat,’” she said back then.
But she cleared her head, got back to work and showed, once again, a knack for peaking at exactly the right time.
What’s more, she won the 200 at the Jamaican Olympic trials, as well. Preliminaries for that race start Monday night.
When the scoreboard finally flashed her in the No. 1 position, Fraser-Pryce dropped to the ground and cried. She ran to the stands, grabbed a Jamaican flag and paraded around with her teammate, Campbell-Brown, known as “VCB” on the island. She not finished in London yet, either. VCB is the two-time defending champion in the 200, where she’ll have Fraser-Pryce to contend with again, along with American Allyson Felix.
Felix, who considers the 100 her tuneup for the 200, finished fifth in 10.89 on Saturday.