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Sha’Carri Richardson is the Olympic hopeful you’re about to see a lot more of


By Sarah Finnan
23rd Jun 2021

@carririchardson_ / Instagram

Sha’Carri Richardson is the Olympic hopeful you’re about to see a lot more of

The Olympics hasn't even begun and we already have a break-out star in Team USA's runner Sha’Carri Richardson

Previously scheduled to take place last summer, as with most other things that fell during 2020, the Olympics were postponed over ongoing public health concerns. Pushed out until this year instead, there was still much apprehension as to whether things would be allowed to go ahead as planned, but officials have since confirmed that it’s very much full steam ahead. 

Due to take place over in Tokyo in exactly one month’s time, much of the country was in a state of emergency until just this week when the Japanese government lifted many of those restrictions in preparation for the games. Kicking off later next month on Friday, July 23, things will get underway with the opening ceremony at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium. 

Starved of competition for the large majority of the past 15 months, there’s a huge global appetite for live sport and it’s likely that all eyes – even those belonging to people with little interest in such matters – will be on competitors… amongst whom you’ll find Sha’Carri Richardson, Team USA’s newest track star. 

Securing her place on the Olympic team just this week, the talented athlete blazed to victory in the women’s 100-metre run just days after losing her biological mother. An emotional win for Richardson, it came after she ran Friday’s preliminary round with one shoe untied. Hitting the headlines for her victory, it was her post-win embrace of her grandmother that really tugged on people’s heartstrings… making everyone want to know more about the fastest woman in America. 

Track sensation 

Just 21 years old, the Texas native got her running start at a young age. One of the standout athletes at Carter High School, she went on to study at Louisiana State University. Continuing to impress, she won many different awards as a student there, including the 2019 Bowerman Award – the highest individual honour in collegiate track and field. Deciding to put an end to her studies after just one year, she called it a day in order to pursue her “lifelong dream” of becoming a professional athlete. 

Family first

Prioritising family above all else, Richardson told NBC News that her support system is to credit for helping her through. “My family has kept me grounded. This year has been crazy for me, going from just last week losing my biological mother, and I’m still here.”

“Last week, finding out my biological mother passed away and still choosing to pursue my dreams, still coming out here, still making sure to make the family that I do still have on this earth proud, and the fact that nobody knows what I go through,” she continued. 

“Everybody has struggles, and I understand that, but you all see me on this track and you all see the poker face I put on, but nobody but them and my coach knows what I go through on a day-to-day basis. And I’m highly grateful for them. Without them, there would be no me. Without my grandmother, there would be no Sha’Carri Richardson. So my family is my everything. My everything until the day I’m done.”

 A woman with a message

Asked if there was anything she wanted to share following her win, Richardson summed it up nicely saying, “I just want the world to know I’m that girl. Every time I step on the track I’m gonna try to do what it is that me, my coach, and my support team believe I can do.”

She may only be 5’1 but Richardson commands attention wherever she goes. Easily recognised by her brightly coloured hair (which she changes according to her mood), long acrylic nails and multitude of tattoos and piercings, she’s not what some might describe a “typical” athlete and we have to say, we love to see it. Fiercely proud of her achievements and always intent on being the best version of herself she can, she donned fiery orange locks for her qualifying run. “My girlfriend actually helped me pick this colour,” she told reporters. “She felt like it was like loud and encouraging. She was like, ‘If you go out there and be the best, you need to look the best. You need to make a statement.’”

Already getting the seal of approval from fellow Team USA star Simone Biles – who simply said, “I’m a fan” when asked about the newest addition to the squad – I think it’s safe to say that Richardson is definitely one to watch this summer.