top of page

Sha’Carri Richardson sprints onto US Olympic team after winning 100 in 10.71 seconds


Sha’Carri Richardson wins a women's 100-meter run semi-final during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials Saturday, June 22, 2024, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)


EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Two steps before she reached the finish line, Sha’Carri Richardson started pounding her chest.


She knew she had it won. Anyone who doesn’t see her as the sprinter to beat later this summer at the Paris Olympics should probably think again.


Richardson notched the latest stop on her “I’m Not Back, I’m Better” tour with a 10.71-second sprint in the 100 meters at U.S. track trials on Saturday that makes her the fastest woman in the world this year and officially earned her a trip to France where the women start racing Aug. 2.


The final marked the third time in this meet that Richardson did not get off to a stellar start. It also marked the third time in the meet she finished well in the clear.


She was .09 seconds ahead of training partner Melissa Jefferson, the 2022 U.S. champion. Another sprinter in coach Dennis Mitchell’s camp, Twanisha Terry, finished third and also earned a spot on the women’s 100-meter team.

“I feel honored,” Richardson said. “I feel every chapter I’ve been through in my life prepared me for this moment.”


A few seconds after her line-crossing celebration, she was down on a knee, clearly caught up in emotion.


“The emotion was just joy because of the hard work I put in, not just physically on the track, but mentally and emotionally to grow into the mature young lady I am today,” she said.


It has been quite a ride for the 24-year-old Texan. Three years ago, she won this race, too (in 10.86 seconds), only to see the victory stripped because of a positive marijuana test that laid bare everything from her own struggles with depression to an anti-doping rulebook that hadn’t changed with the times.


That’s when the hard work began. What emerged, Richardson said, was a better and more in-tune person than the one who lit up this same Hayward Field back in 2021 — her orange hair flowing, looking like this sport’s breakout star.

It took nearly two years for the results to show up on the track again. But she won the national championship in 2023 and declared “I’m not back, I’m better,” then backed that up a month later with the world title.


“I’d say the message I’m sending out is to believe in yourself no matter what,” Richardson said, echoing much the same thoughts from last year in Budapest. “You want to remain solid in yourself. Stay grounded in yourself and your hard work.”


It’s risky business to hand her the gold medal in Paris given the competition she’ll face. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson and two-time defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah have 19 Olympic medals between them — Richardson has never been to the games — and all are slated to run at next weekend’s Jamaican trials.


A recent injury to Thompson-Herah has mixed up that math. Meanwhile, Fraser-Pryce has been a rarely seen commodity in 2024 and Jackson is the two-time world champion at 200 meters — a race Richardson finished third in at worlds and is entered in next week at trials.


Back in the U.S., the Americans are feeding off each other, and Mitchell, a huge name in sprinting in the 1990s, pulled off a rarity by placing all three of his best sprinters in the Olympics.


“The odds of getting all three is probably a point-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-something,” Mitchell said. “But those girls didn’t care about those odds. They went out there and had a plan and they executed well and they deserve everything they got.”


Given she bettered the season’s best time despite a mediocre start and after pounding her chest and pulling up before the end of the race, it’s hard to argue that Richardson is the favorite. Asked if she had a time in mind for the Olympics, she did not bite.


“I just know that if I execute and run the race I’m trained to prepare for that the time will come with it,” she said.

9 views

Comentários


bottom of page