In Forbes Feature, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce reveals yams aren’t Jamaica’s secret weapon for running
Jamaican sprint superstar and Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce discussed her diet and training schedule with Forbes magazine, revealing what some would call a bombshell: She doesn’t like yams, rarely eats yams and does not regard yams as a “secret weapon” responsible for the success of the fastest runners in his country. Since the father of eight-time Olympic medalist Usain Bolt awarded the 100-meter Olympic world from her son to the “power of yams” in 2008, everyone wanted to get started in the hopes of replicating the speed of the sprinter. “I’m not a yam girl at all. don’t like yam too much. I’ll eat it but I’m more on dumplings and rice… and porridge. I drink a lot of porridge, “the star athlete known as” Pocket Rocket “and” Mommy Rocket ”to his fans.
As a child, she said she experienced food insecurity, often eating a limited, repetitive diet of one or more affordable ingredients such as cornmeal. When sent to the store by her mother with a weekly supply list, she would wait for all the other customers to leave before approaching the store operator with the list as she would never have enough money to get everything. and didn’t want anyone to find it outside. When Fraser-Pryce entered Wolmer’s Trust High School for Girls, she became very aware that her lifestyle was different from that of her classmates and at 11 she was ashamed of her food insecurity. Her enrollment in Wolmer’s breakfast program caused her embarrassment because she believed that accepting free school meals exposed what she felt was her shame.
However, her athletic performance at a high level in school athletics ultimately provided the background that supported her; when the time for the championship came, the school would provide its athletes with vitamins, Pediasure and cooked meals. “You could say my school kind of saved me,” she noted. Another source of support was Jeanne Coke of the Wolmer’s Old Girls’ Association, who learned of Fraser-Pryce’s situation and began funding her education in recognition of her potential.
When she entered college, she found that many foods her mother made – foods she didn’t want people to know she was eating because she believed it made her look poor – were recommended by her coaches to give her the edge she needed. succeed in athletics. Now she has come full circle and now cornmeal is one of her favorite foods.
“To have overcome everything I have in my life to be here like I did is just crazy,” she said, recalling her childhood and adolescence and knowing that her story is common among today’s student-athletes in Jamaica. She also recognizes that most of them will not have the same chance as her to escape poverty and achieve their dreams on the world stage. Fraser-Pryce used these challenges to motivate and inspire her. She launched the Pocket Rocket Foundation in 2013 to provide academic and athletic support to student-athletes facing financial challenges. To date, more than 40 student-athletes, 20 men and 21 student-athletes in 18 different athletic fields have received full academic scholarships from the Pocket Rocket Foundation.
“At the end of life, what matters is not what we bought but what we built. Not our success but our importance, ”she said.
Photo: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Facebook