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Sha’Carri Richardson is a world champion in her very first global championships final. She clocked a 10.65 personal best. Incredibly, she took down Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson who finished second and defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce who took third. They finished in times of 10.72 and 10.77, respectively.
Richardson, once a divisive personality, seems to have grown up over the past year.
In 2019, she came onto the sprint scene apparently destined for greatness. She dominated the NCAA representing Louisiana State University winning the national title in 10.75 seconds.
She won the USATF Tokyo Olympic Trials 100-metre event, then was stripped of the win for testing positive for a chemical found in marijuana. In 2022, she was eliminated in the first round of the 100m at nationals. Her behaviour, language, and image suggested a lack of self-esteem, especially after she heard the news that her estranged mother had passed away. But things have since changed.
The 23-year-old seems to have put the recent past behind her and showed up more mature for the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships.
The performance makes her the sixth-fastest female sprinter of all time. The 10.65 finish time is a world championships record and a big new personal best.
Working in Lane 9, she still seemed to get off to a slower start over the first 20m and it appeared that Shericka Jackson had the lead only to be pipped over the final few metres by Richardson.
Richardson also bettering Jamaican rival Fraser-Pryce, who is a 10-time world championship gold medallist in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m events, is a very big deal. The 36-year-old is also a three-time Olympic gold medallist and owns a personal best of 10.60 seconds making her the third fastest ever. Only Florence Griffith-Joyner and Elaine Thompson-Herah have run faster at 10.49 and 10.54 seconds, respectively.
The difference is primarily from her start, going from .222 to .156 of a second out of the blocks, from the semi-final to the final.
“This journey for me, from since I first came on the professional level to now is just knowing that no matter what happens, you never lose sight of yourself,” she said. “Never lose sight of your faith. Always remember why you started.”
This last comment is a much more concise and clear-headed quote that she would not have uttered over the past few years. Her win is a statement on perhaps the next phase of her career.
Women’s 100m Final Results WIND: -0.2 – Monday, August 21
|Marie-Josée TA LOU