Twenty-three-year-old American track & field sprinter Sha’carri Richardson has grown to be a household name to the track and field community and the world. A name that has had a lot of buzz in the press good and bad since the beginning of the young track star’s career. The thing about Sha’carri Richardson that I admire the most is her confidence in herself, her resilience, and watching her personal growth on and off the track.
On Aug 21, 2023, Sha’carri Richardson became the fastest woman in the world after conquering gold in the Women’s 100 meter at the World Athletics Championship in Budapest, Hungary. Richardson not only claimed the gold medal but also shattered the championship record by an astonishing 0.02 seconds, completing the race in a fast-moving 10.65 seconds. Behind Richardson, Jamaican sprinters Sherica Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce finished earning the silver and bronze.
Sha’carri’s journey to becoming the world’s fastest woman is far from a fairytale. This is a story of resilience, growth, determination, prosperity, and overcoming. Her story contains pages that could have easily crushed the spirit of an individual when faced with challenges of adversity. Richardson managed to overcome these hurdles, all while carrying the weight of the spotlight from the world.
After winning the 100-meter World Athletic Championship Richardson stated “I’m not worried about the world anymore. I’ve seen the world be my friend, I’ve seen the world turn on me. At the end of the day, I’ve always been with me”. A compelling and confident statement from the young track star who’s had to prove herself these past few years that she is here to stay and make her mark.
At nineteen years old Sha’carri joined the LSU Women’s Track & Field Team as a freshman in 2019 but left the team in June of the same year to pursue her professional career. During her time at LSU, she achieved the 2019 Bowerman award, the highest individual honor in collegiate track and field, and a NCAA Division I Championship title.
Richardson’s name started to really become famous at the age of twenty-one after her performance at the 2021 US Olympic Team trials. She quickly became a fan favorite due to her unique fashion style, her personality of the track, and her incredible speed that resulted in her winning the 100-meter US Olympic Trial securing her spot for the Tokyo Olympics.
Just a week before the 2021 US Olympic Trials the track star faced the loss of her biological mother. Richardson astounded the world by delivering a top-tier performance despite her profound grief. One week post-trails Richardson experienced the world shift from support to turning their back on her as she tested positive for THC, leading to her suspension from the US Olympic Team and barring her from participating in the Tokyo Olympics.
The young twenty-one-year-old track star made her post-suspension debut at the Prefontaine Classic in August of 2021. All eyes were on Richardson as the world eagerly watched how she would perform after the scandal. Unfortunately, Ricardson placed last in the 100 meters with a time of 11.14 seconds. This left everyone pondering the question of “What’s next for Sha’Carri Richardson?”.This single race seemed to mark a moment when many began to doubt her as her post-race interview went viral.
The world seemed to count Richardson out back in 2021 but look at her now two years later and is the Women’s 100-meter World Athletic Champion and is now the fastest woman in the world. Sha’carri Richardson’s story brings hope and inspiration by the way she overcame such adversity on such a large platform at a young age. She has taught us to believe in ourselves when no one else does and to rise above. I am excited to see what Richardson’s future has in store because she has proved she is here to stay.