“…knowing I’m an Olympian, actually that’s probably better than winning the race.”- Sha’Carri Richardson
Sha’Carri Richardson has secured her spot on the 2021 U.S. Olympics team.
On June 19, the 21-year-old competed in Eugene, Oregon, in the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials. She won first place in the women’s 100-meter semis in 10.86 seconds. She was only .01 seconds away from beating the previous record set by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 2019.
Richardson will go on to run the 100m in the summer Olympics next month, but she will not run the 200m at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. She currently ranks the third-fastest woman in the 200m, as reported by NBC Sports. And although she is an Olympic favorite, the title for the fastest woman in the world still belongs to two-time Olympic champion Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica.
But if Richardson runs as she did in Oregon, that title could quickly be flipped.
“I’m that girl”
After crossing the finish line, an out-of-breath Richardson told NBC Sports that “she’s that girl.”
“I’m that girl, that every time I step on the track,” said Richardson.”I’m going to try to do what it is that me, my coach, my support team believes I can do.”
When asked about her shaky start to the race, Richardson explained she is aware that her start is not the best. She and her coach continue to make sure that she is in a good enough position to dominate with the part of the race that she is best at. This was displayed as she blasted ahead during the race and snagged a victory.
Following the race, Richardson ran to the stands to celebrate the victory with her grandmother and embraced her with a hug. Her biological mother recently passed, and she expressed her gratitude for her family and coach being her support system following the race. The moment went viral on social media.
“To be able to have her here at the biggest meet in my life, and to cross the finish line and run up the steps to hug [my grandmother] knowing I’m an Olympian, actually that’s probably better than winning the race,” said Richardson.
THIS is what it’s all about.@itskerrii is headed to the Olympics, and she immediately ran into the stands to celebrate with her family.@usatf | #TokyoOlympics x #TrackFieldTrials21 pic.twitter.com/MjvZmmOKPg
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 20, 2021
Richardson, the record breaker
At the age of 21, Richardson is the youngest woman to win the 100m at the Olympic Trials since Alice Brown in 1980 at age 19. While attending Louisiana State University, the Dallas, Texas, native broke the collegiate record in the 100m at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
In an interview with ABC, Richardson touched on daily struggles, including her mother’s passing, and the people in her life who push her through them as she breaks records.
“Everybody has struggles and I understand that. But y’all see me on this track and y’all see the poker face I put on. But nobody but [my family] and my coach know what I go through… and I’m highly grateful to them,” she said in an interview with ABC.
Just call her long nails, don’t care. Her fashion has been compared to legendary, Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner, commonly known as Flo-Jo. Joyner was known for her long, acrylic nails on the track. In 1988, Joyner set the world record for the women’s 100m and 200m.
“Flo-Jo came to the track and knew she was going to dominate,” Richardson told the Associated Press. “The way she did that was graceful. I always liked that. If the amazing Flo-Jo had long nails, there was no excuse why I couldn’t have long nails.
Sha’Carri Richardson will join Javianne Oliver and Teahna Daniels, who also secured their spots in the women’s 100m race at the Olympic Games in Tokyo by placing second and third, respectively.
The summer Olympics kick off in Tokyo on July 23.
Daniel J. Newton is a senior journalism student at Florida A&M University originally from Tampa, Florida. He has bylines in publications such as The Famuan, Journey Magazine and The Tallahassee Democrat.