Olympics 2012: Bolt, Blake try to add to Jamaica’s gold tally

LONDON (AP) — There’s been a whole lot of hype at the 2012 Summer Games about Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and the men’s 100-meter final Sunday night. Yet Jamaica didn’t need to wait for those two guys to resume the island nation’s Olympic supremacy in sprint events.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took care of that.

Running with a golden ribbon tying back her hair, and a golden chain jangling around her neck, Fraser-Pryce earned a medal of that hue, too, winning a second consecutive Olympic title in the women’s 100 by outleaning Carmelita Jeter of the U.S. to finish in 10.75 seconds Saturday night.

“Back in 2008, Usain Bolt was the first to get a gold medal,” Fraser-Pryce said, “and now a woman is in charge.”

And she had company: Veronica Campbell-Brown gave Jamaica the bronze.

With a population of 3 million — about 1 percent of the people who live in the United States — Jamaica now has six of the last seven gold medals awarded in the men’s and women’s Olympic sprints, including relays. Three of those belong to Bolt, who swept the 100, 200 and 4x100 in Beijing, each in world-record time.

Given Bolt’s success and fame, Fraser-Pryce is overshadowed back home. Even if she was good enough to become the first woman since American Gail Devers in 1992 and 1996 to win two Olympic 100s in a row.

“Sometimes I go to the supermarket, and they ask me questions about Usain,” Fraser-Pryce said. “They’re like, ‘Where is Usain? Do you train with Usain?’”

Still, anyone familiar with the sport’s history in Jamaica knows what a significant role women such as Merlene Ottey and Campbell-Brown — who own a combined 15 Olympic medals — have played in making running the national pastime.

“Jamaicans — I wouldn’t call them ‘greedy’ — but they expect a lot from us,” Fraser-Pryce said.

Everyone expects a lot from the men’s dash, the marquee race in track and field.

In addition to being the reigning Olympic champion, Bolt owns the world record of 9.58 seconds.

Blake is the world champion, and he also beat Bolt in the 100 and 200 at the Jamaican Olympic trials.

Then there’s the third Jamaican in the men’s 100 field, Asafa Powell, who held the world record from 2005 until 2008, when Bolt bettered it.

“Who will win tomorrow? I don’t know,” Fraser-Pryce said. “I hope they go 1-2-3.”

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