Under-dog status will help Shelly - Francis
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
It's not very often that Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce enters a major championship as the underdog. There was that time in 2011 at the World Championships when American Carmelita Jeter had all the hype going into the event and of course in 2008 when the unknown Fraser-Pryce shocked the world and won her first Olympic gold medal in Beijing.
Eight years later at another Olympic Games, the 'pocket rocket' again finds herself as the underdog going into the Games, with many expecting to see someone else at the top of the podium, when the Olympic 100m medals are being presented.
At least one person thinks this will serve her well, with her coach Stephen Francis backing the sprinter to use the doubts to push her campaign and again show her class.
Fraser-Pryce has struggled all year with a toe injury and has seen the likes of fellow Jamaican and club-mate Elaine Thompson as well as Dafne Schippers from The Netherlands stake strong claims to her title.
Nonetheless, Francis, who shared that the seven-time world champion has improved significantly since securing her Olympic spot at the National Senior Championships last month, is certain she will be as good as ever in Rio and thinks her under-dog status will actually be to her benefit.
"Being the underdog this time around, I think it will allow her to focus more on her technique and form and when she does that she is usually very hard to beat," Francis told STAR Sports.
Since she competed at the National Championships, Fraser-Pryce has registered times of 11.25, 11.03 and 11.06 at meets in Italy and London.
Francis was expecting her to go faster in London, but took heart from her performance.
"The improvements in her training have been massive to the point where I was a little disappointed in London even though we were only supposed to work on her start. Her improvement is such that this London race, even though she was fatigued and so on - but come August 12 (Olympic 100m heat) I think she will be as good as she as ever been," said Francis.