LONDON - Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won a thrilling women's 100m duel to retain her Olympic crown on Saturday, holding off a lunging Carmelita Jeter to squeeze home by just 0.03sec. Fraser-Pryce, the fastest woman in the world this year, exploded out of the blocks and opened up a gap over the world champion, crossing the line in 10.75sec, ahead of the American who clocked 10.78sec. Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown took bronze in a time of 10.81 as the Caribbean nation once again asserted its superiority over its fierce rival the United States in the sprint events. "I really don't know what happened," said Fraser-Pryce, 25. "For me as a sprinter I thought first of course about getting out of the blocks. Then my coach always says I have to get my first strides correct but he always says I don't follow his instructions. And I don't know whether I did it here."
She said winning in London was different from taking gold in 2008. "It's completely different to Beijing because there I was inexperienced. I was young and I never believed I could win. This time I was a bit nervous but I believed in God and I trusted him to carry me through." She will line up in the 200m hoping for a sprint double and is sure to play a role in the formidable Jamaican 4x100 relay team.
"I came here on a mission and it hasn't been completed yet. Let's see what will happen," Fraser-Pryce said. Jeter, the fastest living woman over 100m, qualified quickest for the final as the United States tried desperately to end a 16-year drought in the event. She pushed Fraser-Pryce to the limit but just failed to catch her on the line at the end of a gripping second night of action in London's Olympic Stadium.
"I am so blessed to be there," said Jeter, a 32-year-old veteran. "It was a tough race. I gave it my all. I got a medal at the Olympics. It feels so good. "It was a power-filled final," she added. "I'm just glad I got to the finish line and I hope I represented the USA. It was my first Olympics. I ran a season's best and I got a silver." Fraser-Pryce led an unprecedented women's 100m Olympic medal sweep for Jamaica in 2008.
But Jeter turned the tables last year at the world championships in South Korea, winning the 100m and capturing silver in the 200m along with anchoring the US squad to gold in the sprint relay. Fraser-Pryce becomes the third woman to win this event twice after US pair Wyomia Tyus and Gail Devers. Bronze medallist Campbell-Brown's bronze was her sixth Olympic medal -- she has three golds, one silver and two bronze. Only fellow Merlene Ottey, with nine, has more medals for Jamaica.
"It was a fast race and it was good. I'm just grateful for the result and I'm not going to use any excuses. Finally I got a medal and I'm happy to be on the podium," said Campbell-Brown, the reigning Olympic 200m champion. Six women ran under 11 seconds in the final, a record for this event, with American Tianna Madison fourth and former 200m world champion Allyson Felix fifth.
Gold for Fraser-Pryce, handed a six-month-doping suspension in 2010 after medication she was taking for toothache was found to be on the banned list, means sprinting powerhouse America's wait for women's 100m gold goes on. The last American to win a gold was Devers, who triumphed in Atlanta in 1996, illustrating how the Americans have slipped behind the Jamaicans in both men's and women's sprinting in recent years. The top three 100m times are held by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, who was dogged by rumours of drug abuse.