There's no missing Miss Sha'Carri.
From her blazing hair on the race track, to her defiant "I am that girl," Sha'Carri Richardson is a record-breaking, world class athlete with poise and confidence to boot. The Texas native competed in her first Olympic Trial race at age 21, placing first by a margin of nearly a tenth of a second. Recently, however, Richardson has been barred from her spot on the Olympic team due to a positive test for marijuana, a drug which is classified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as "performance enhancing." In an interview with Today, Richardson explained that the action came in the wake of the death of her biological mother, news she received just before her Olympic Trial race. Yet, Richardson remains undeterred. To celebrate the up-and-coming athlete (Olympics or otherwise), let's take a look at what makes Sha'Carri so great.
From age 9, Richardson became infatuated with track. After discovering medals in her aunt's closet, the idea of winning some of her own began to entice her. Quick stints dancing, playing basketball, even playing flag football fell away in favor of her original love: track and field.
Soon after, Richardson was discovered by coach Lauren Cross while running at a local club called Desoto Nitro Track Club, located just outside of Dallas. Already the fastest girl in the group, Richardson quickly rose in status until she was the fastest girl in Texas (and only a sophomore in high school). In her teen years, Richardson won gold at the AAU Junior Olympics, and then again at the 2017 USA Track & Field Junior Championships in 2017 – some of the most prestigious competitions offered to her age group at the time. Yet Richardson was only getting started.
After enrolling in Louisiana State University on the women's track team, Richardson won the 100-meter and placed runner-up (by a fraction of a second) in the 200-meter at the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Both times were world "under-20" records, while her NCAA performance was the second best ever by a female sprinter, after Merlene Ottey (four decades earlier). Soon after, she officially entered her professional career.
Richardson entered the Olympic Trials with a 10.72 100-meter win under her belt – the sixth-fastest time in history. In semi-finals, Richardson breezed by with a 10.64 win and then another in the final, clocking in at 10.84 (more than a tenth of a second faster than her closest competitor).
However, with the fame of the Olympic Trials also came tragedy for the young star. During an interview on NBC, Richardson heard the news that her biological mother had passed away. With only days before the Trials, Richardson had no choice but to continue to train and compete. It was during this time that Richardson revealed she had used marijuana to cope with her mother's passing. Regardless of national backlash to the decision to suspend Richardson, the USADA upheld the judgment, and disqualified her from this year's Tokyo Olympic Games.
However, this is just the beginning for Richardson. On July 2, she stated confidently:
“This is the last time the Olympics don’t see Sha’Carri Richardson. And this is the last time the U.S. doesn’t come home with the gold medal in the 100 meters.”
The young track star plans to take to the field immediately after her July suspension. Watch her blaze to first in the Olympic Trials below.