Fraser-Pryce keeps Ta Lou running towards Paris: "Her words are loud in my head every day!"

By October 06, 2023

"My sister, Shelly, won't let me give up on running," reveals Marie-Josee Ta Lou, the fastest woman in Africa, as she reflects on a remarkable season she describes as "great for me."

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a three-time Olympic and 10-time world champion, serves as a constant source of motivation for Ta Lou. She reveals that the soon-to-be 37-year-old Jamaican icon is among the main reasons she plans to show up in Paris next year.

"She is constantly reminding me that she is older than me and she is still going strong. Her words are loud in my head every single day and she never gets exhausted of motivating me to wake every morning and do what I like,” the Ivorian speedster said. “Shelly-Ann is one of the many reasons you will see me in Paris for what could be my last Olympic Games."

While her love for the track spans a decade, Ta Lou acknowledges that her calling in athletics is greater than merely amassing medals.

Ta Lou, who achieved an African record time of 10.72 seconds during the 2022 Monaco Diamond League, making her the sixth-fastest woman of all time, has faced the heartache of coming agonizingly close to the podium at major championships. This season, she concluded the World Athletics Championships in Budapest with a fourth-place finish, a result that still stings.

"I wanted to get a medal but finished fourth. I have been in a situation where I have been crying alone in my room," Ta Lou reveals in an interview with the BBC. "The support I received from fans across the world and my fellow competitors has been my saving grace."

While Ta Lou is no stranger to narrowly missing out on top honors in athletics, she understands the profound impact she can have beyond the podium. She believes her calling extends to inspiring others to persevere and overcome the fear of failure.

"Sometimes I feel like my calling is different and way bigger than always being on the podium," she states. "It's about the hope I give to people to keep trying and about the legacy that I want to leave behind. I know there are people beyond athletics who see themselves through me in their daily struggles."

Ta Lou emphasizes that winning is not solely about crossing the finish line first but rather about the impact an athlete can have on people's lives. She aspires to be a beacon of the never-give-up spirit, encouraging others to pursue their dreams relentlessly.

Her journey has been marked by challenges, but Ta Lou maintains a positive outlook. She acknowledges the role of faith in her resilience, stating, "My strength comes from God," and sharing how quiet moments of meditation and prayer provide her with the vigor to persevere.

Despite moments of doubt and contemplating giving up, Ta Lou's motivation stems from the desire to make her mother proud, represent Africa, and inspire young girls on the continent to pursue their dreams. She sees herself as a source of light and hope for those facing complex challenges.

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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