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Sha’Carri Richardson: Her Journey to the Top of Track & Field

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Sha’Carri Richardson broke into the limelight during her college days. She represented Louisiana State University and broke the 100m National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship record in 2019. Richardson clocked a staggering 10.75 seconds which made her one of the top ten fastest women in the world.

Since she began competing in international events, the sprinter has faced stiff competition from Jamaica. It’s taken her a while to measure up, but Sha’Carri Richardson has finally joined the party. Learn more about the American sprinter below.

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Sha’Carri Richardson’s Early Career

Sha’Carri Richardson: Her Journey to the Top of Track & Field
Sha’Carri Richardson in a competition. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sha’Carri Richardson was born on 25 March 2000 in Dallas, Texas. She was raised by her grandmother and estranged from her biological mother. 

Her aunt Shayaria Richardson who’s also her trainer introduced her to the sport at the age of nine. Sha’Carri was a successful junior athlete. 

In 2016,  she won the 100m at the Amateur Athletics Union Junior Olympics, the biggest competition for junior athletes in the United States.

The following year, Sha’Carri Richardson bagged the title at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships.

In the same year, she won a gold medal in the 4 by 100m relay at the Pan American U20 Athletics Championship.

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College Career

She continued to star in her races throughout her time at Louisiana State University. In 2019, Sha’Carri broke two U20 records. She ran the 100m in 10.75 seconds and set a collegiate record. In the 200m, she broke Allyson Felix’s record after clocking 22.17 seconds. In late 2019, Sha’Carri decided to turn professional. 

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Professional Career

Sha’Carri Richardson: Her Journey to the Top of Track & Field
Sha’Carri Richardson holding the American flag. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sha’Carri Richardson’s professional career got off to a bad start. After qualifying for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, she tested positive for the use of THC metabolites. She received a one-month suspension, and although she was eligible to compete in the 4 by 100m relay, she wasn’t chosen.

In late 2021, the sprinter competed at the Prefontaine Classic, but Jamaica dominated the race. In 2022, she missed out on the World Athletics Championships in her country after failing to qualify.

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Sha’Carri Richardson’s Comeback

In 2023, Sha’Carri reinvented herself and proved her doubters wrong. In April, the sprinter registered the fourth-fastest time in 100m by a woman in history. She clocked 10.57 seconds at the Miramar Invitational. 

In May, Sha’Carri won the 100m race in the Diamond League at a speed of 10.76 seconds. Her next stop was the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Sha’Cari won the 100m event at 10.82 seconds and qualified for the World Championships in Budapest. 

The athlete sprinted to the history books after she completed the 100m in 10.65 seconds, beating Shelly-Anne Fraser Price’s time of 10.67 seconds. She became the first non-Jamaican woman to win the 100m since Tori Bowie in 2017 and the second since Carmelita Jeta in 2011. 

In the 200m, she clinched the bronze medal in 21.92 seconds and won the gold medal in the 4 by 100 meters.

After her historic performance, Sha’Carri told World Athletics that she let her performance speak for itself.

“I wanted my performance to speak for itself. It feels amazing. I’m grateful that everything has paid off.” Sha’Carri Richardson said.

As for how she was able to bounce back from a disappointing 2022, the sprinter said that no one should ever write her off. 

“I’m a warrior. My passion comes from what I put my blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice into. It’s not every day that you win but today was the day. For the times I don’t get to win, it’s not the end of the world but if you choose to count me out, the joke’s on you.”

It can only get better for Sha’Carri Richardson. She’s now the face of sprinting in America and is giving Jamaicans a run for their money. 

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