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Sha’Carri Richardson Gets Back On Track

In 2019, Sha’Carri Richardson made her debut as an elite track star and gained national recognition her freshman year at Louisiana State University (LSU); her speed and presence were undeniable, regardless of the arena.

Present-day, Richardson holds an extensive list of records dating back to 2016. Titles include 2016 AAU Junior Olympics Champion (100 Meters), 2017 Pan American Junior Champion (4×100 Relay), FloTrack’s No. 1 Girls’ Sprint Recruit in Class of 2018, 2019 SEC Freshman Track Athlete of the Year, and more. During an NCAA Championships appearance, she claimed her first NCAA title with a PR of 10.75… that was the ninth fastest in world history.

The previous accolades solidified her reputation as a supreme athlete, which prompted her to decline collegiate eligibility and declare a professional contract. The Irish Times reported Richardson is Nike sponsored and coached by former Olympic Sprinter Dennis Mitchell. She paid homage to Coach Mitchell and acknowledged him for being one of the few people that understood her struggles.

Seemingly, struggles were a continuous theme shortly after winning the US Olympic Trials in Portland, Oregon. The world phenomenon was set to lead Team USA into the Tokyo games in July 2021; however, Sha’Carri tested positive for marijuana and was banned from competing. NBC reported Richardson’s biological mother passed a week before the Olympic trials, which impacted her judgment. “I apologize for the fact that I didn't know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time. I just say don't judge me because I am human,” she stated.

In August 2021, Sha’Carri appeared at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon. Crowd anticipation was high, but her return did not go as planned. Richardson ended up finishing last in the women’s 100 meters. "I'm not upset with myself at all," Richardson said. "This is one race. I'm not done.”

Media attention faded over time, and her buzz simmered down. It was quiet since summer 2021, but the tides have turned. Now 22-year-old, Sha’Carri Richardson, is back for vengeance. After many trials Richardson experienced, she returned to the Prefontaine Pre Classic 100-meter race and won second place this past Memorial Day weekend. Richardson entered the race as an underdog but finished with 10.92 seconds, just short of Jamaican Olympic gold medalist winner Elaine Thompson-Herah’s 10.79 seconds.  “To top it all off, she wore a headpiece, as if to signal that she would eventually retake her rightful place on the throne."

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