Just a few moments after Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce blazed past the 100m finish line on Sunday night, she picked up something more precious than gold.
Zyon, her 2-year-old son, came down to the track to join accompany her for the victory lap.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, now sporting a rainbow-pastel pastiche in her long hair, earned her fourth 100m World title at a World Championships and the Jamaican did so in emphatic style.
“A victory for motherhood!” said a gleaming Fraser-Pryce .
It undoubtedly was. 2019 has proven to be the Year of the Mother in track and field and Sunday was Mother’s Day.
Just moments prior to Fraser-Pryce’s scintillating performance, Allyson Felix, a new mother herself, surpassed Usain Bolt with her record breaking 12th gold medal at the World Championships.
Felix’s medal came in the brand new 4x400m mixed relay event – where two men and two women team up for four trips around the track.
American Allyson Felix made the headlines earlier this year as she was amongst some of the Athletes who banded together in protest this summer, getting Nike to change a long-standing policy that stopped payments to pregnant athletes in this sport.
Felix is the only female track and field athlete to ever win six Olympic gold medals. Camyrn, her 10-month old daughter was at the stadium to watch her surpass the great Usain Bolt’s record.
Felix commented that she got goose bumps watching Fraser-Pryce cross the finish line at the age of 32 and as a mother.
“What she’s done is amazing,” Felix said. “She’s had a hard road, too. She keeps encouraging me. Her first year wasn’t the best, but her second year, she’s better than ever. Women are amazing and she’s leading the way.”
Fraser-Pryce admitted she cried the day she found out she was pregnant. There were calls from critics that it was time for her to hang-up her cleats – but she persevered.
“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” said Fraser-Pryce
“I knew how I felt and I knew I wasn’t ready to go. I had something left to do, and I stayed focused on the goal.”
Felix spent more than a decade cultivating a reputation as a classy champion, but a very private person. When she went public with her issues with Nike, it served as a tipping point to the movement begun earlier in the summer by Alysia Montano.
Her public outcry worked – not only in the terms Nike was willing to rework in its endorsement contracts for elite athletes, but in the message it sent about equality.
“I think everything I went through this year … it just brings it all back that it’s so much bigger than myself,” Felix said.
Combined, Fraser-Pryce and Felix have piled up a 27 medals at World Championships over the past 14 years. They are easily two of the most dominating sprinters of their time.
Even so, these two golds are destined to stand out for them, mainly for the work they put in simply to make it back to the track.
So many Jamaican victory laps in the past have been topped off with Bob Marley tunes to fuel up a crowd on its way to a party.
This time, it was a selection from “The Lion King” playing over the PA system as the sprinter they’re now calling the “Mommy Rocket” exited stage right with her son in her arms.
The song: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”