21-year-old Sha’Carri Richardson delivered the biggest win of her young career Saturday night by taking first place in the women’s 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She is set to become America’s next star on the track, no question about it!
Sha’Carri Richardson Impressive Displays
The victory came a few hours after Richardson had run a wind-assisted time of 10.64 in the semi-final that would have been a personal record and the third-fastest mark all-time and guaranteed her a spot on the United States Olympic team. She finished .13 seconds ahead of second-place Javianne Oliver and won comfortably.
Richardson’s best wind-legal time of 10.72 is sixth in the record books and came earlier this year, her first as a professional.
Richardson exploded onto the scene while representing LSU at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championship with an NCAA and World-Junior Record 10.75, lifting her arms in celebration before even crossing the line. She would also take second place in the 200m at this meet, missing out on first by one one-hundredth of a second.
Before arriving at LSU, the new American champion was a student at Dallas Carter High School in Dallas, Texas. There, she ran PRs of 11.12 in the 100m and 23.02 in the 200m.
Richardson is somewhat a cross between the flashy style of the new school and the loudmouthed confidence of the old school. She is unmistakable on the track, sporting different colored and eccentric hairstyles and long nails, reminiscent of World-Record holder Florence Griffith Joyner, who still sits .14 seconds ahead of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s second all-time 10.63.
America’s young star has not shied down from expectations and comparisons to past legends, Tweeting “My presence in this track game making history happen,no need for a thank you.” Her combination of self-confidence and consistent improvement makes her nearly impossible to shake mentally or physically.
Two American women— Tori Bowie and English Gardner— made the final at the 2016 Rio Olympics, though neither will get the chance to return in 2021. Bowie won a silver medal with her time of 10.83, sandwiched between the Jamaican pairing of Elaine Thompson and Fraser-Pryce.
The United States has not produced a gold medalist in the women’s 100m dash since Gail Devers ran 10.94 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The red, white, and blue has been dominant in the 4×100 because of the depth of their teams, finishing on top in 2016 and 2012, but have not had a consistent and dominant star to build the team around. She may be young and inexperienced on the international stage, but Richardson’s speed and swagger could lead her to fill the void in American superstardom.
Next up for the young phenom is the first round of the 200-meter dash at the Olympic Trials, which will commence on Thursday, June 24 at 9:31 p.m. ET. She will face stark competition from collegiate athletes Cambrea Sturgis and Tamara Clark, who have both run within .02 seconds of Richardson’s 22.11 time this season.
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Versatility as a Virtue
Although not guaranteed, Richardson is expected to anchor the 4×100 at the Olympics this summer: her teammates would be chosen from a field of Oliver, Teahna Daniels, Jenna Prandini, Gabby Thomas, and English Gardner.
Richardson is a bolt of lightning waiting to strike, and she races up to her competition— she will be an important athlete to watch as she takes on the best sprinters the world has to offer for a chance at the gold medal.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.