Sha’Carri Richardson dazzled American sports fans earlier this summer when she earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in the 100-meter dash. Then she was suspended for a month because she failed a drug test.
So against that backdrop Saturday, Sha’Carri Richardson, America’s fastest woman, had her first chance to race against the field from the Tokyo Olympics. She could give us all a glimpse of what might have been in Tokyo. After all, winners of gold, silver and bronze were in the 100-meter field at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.
So would her presence have made a difference in Tokyo? Probably not. Sha’Carri Richardson finished ninth in a nine-woman final. She’d already decided to withdraw from the 200 meters. However, an animated Richardson talked to NBC reporter Lewis Johnson in a post-race interview.
“It was a great return back to the sport,” Sha’Carri Richardson told NBC. “I wanted to be able to come and perform having a month off. … Not upset at myself at all. This is one race. I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of.
“Count me out if you want to. Talk all the s— you want, ’cause I’m here to stay. I’m not done. I’m the sixth-fastest woman in this game, ever. And can’t nobody ever take that from me. Congratulations to the winners. Congratulations to the people that won, but they’re not done seeing me yet. Period.”
Sha’Carri Richardson Was More Than a Half Second Behind Winner
Sha’Carri Richardson ran a time of 11.14 seconds. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, who won the gold medal in Tokyo, sizzled in Oregon, winning the race in 10.54. That’s the second-fastest time, ever, for the women’s 100. The late Florence Griffith-Joyner still owns the world record of 10.49, which she ran in 1988.
Thompson-Herah said: “I’m a little bit surprised because I’ve not run that fast in five years and I actually ran fast at the championships. But to come back here after two weeks to run another personal best is a really amazing.”
In fact, the podium from Tokyo looked exactly like the one in Eugene. It was an all Jamaica sweep. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson were second and third. Thompson-Herah, in Tokyo, won both the 100 and 200 meters, becoming the first woman in history to win the sprints in consecutive Olympics.
Sha’Carri Richardson couldn’t run at the Olympics after a drug screen showed she had traces of marijuana in her system. There was a national conversation, reaching all the way up to President Joe Biden, about whether smoking or ingesting pot should keep an athlete from competing.
“This last month was a journey for me, but that’s no excuse, because at the end of the day I’m an athlete,” Sha’Carri Richardson told reporters in Oregon. “Today was a day, but it’s not every day. It’s not the end of the world. And like I say, if you count me out, jokes on you.”