23 Years on the Roller Coaster – Sha’Carri Richardson, the Vomiting Fate

Sha’Carri Richardson became the first US 100 world champion since Tori Bowie’s success in 2017 (Photo: Miklós Szabó)

His appearance is also attention-grabbing, his sports performance even more so, as he speaks after the competitions and behaves forcefully at the press conference. His eccentricity and unruliness can be justified by the fact that he had a particularly difficult fate.

Born on March 25, 2000 in Dallas, Texas, the little girl was abandoned by her parents and raised by her grandmother, Betty Harp, and her aunt. Sports gave him hope and the opportunity to rise from hopelessness. Already as a teenager, he achieved amazing results, in 2016 he won the 100 meters at the largest junior multi-sport event in the United States (AAU Junior Olympics), and then again a year later. At the 2017 U20 Pan American Games, he presented himself in the international field as a member of the winning 4×100 relay.


In 2018, he was admitted to Louisiana State University with a sports scholarship, and a year later he was a finalist in the 60 meters at the American University Indoor Championships. At the outdoor championships, she accomplished an almost unprecedented double: she ran 10.75 seconds in 100 meters and 22.17 seconds in 200 meters on the same day (only Jamaican Merlene Ottey could show better “one-day” time results in the two sprint distances). The winner’s time of 10.75 became an American university record and a U20 world record – it broke the 42-year-old record of Marlies Göhr from the GDR. 22.17 was not only a silver medal, but also a U20 world record, Allyson Felix consigned the record set at the 2004 Athens Olympics to the past.

Then, four days after the championship, he announced that he was renouncing his university scholarship and continuing his studies… He signed a professional contract, was sponsored by Nike – in the sports goods manufacturer’s advertisement he called himself Florence Griffith Joyner’s successor – and continued his training under the guidance of former Olympic and two-time world champion Dennis Mitchell.

It seemed that there was no limit in front of him, he qualified for the 2000 Olympics at the summer selection of the United States, but the results of the doping test after his winning run of 10.86 showed everything.

His urine sample tested positive for THC metabolites, indicating recent marijuana use. Richardson defended himself by saying that cannabis is a legal drug in Eugene, Oregon, where the pageant is traditionally held, and that he only resorted to using it out of desperation after a journalist interviewing him during the competition asked him if he knew that the his biological mother… Richardson, who knew nothing about his mother’s fate, completed a counseling program and accepted the punishment of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which suspended his competitive license for one month.

After the 100th runner of the Budapest WC: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sha’Carri Richardson, Shericka Jackson (Photo: Miklós Szabó)


But that one month ended on July 27, 2021 – the 100-meter dash was held on July 30 and 31 at the Tokyo Olympics, postponed a year due to the coronavirus epidemic, and the US Olympic Committee did not take the risk of nominating Richardson. (In the United States, a huge debate broke out about it, many celebrities and influential organizations stood in favor of easing the rules on marijuana consumption, the topic was also discussed in Congress, even President Joe Biden proposed to review the law prohibiting the use of drugs by athletes. ) He could have been included in the American team for the 4×100 relay race to be held on August 5th and 6th – but he was not selected among the reserves either…

After the Games, she returned to the court at the traditional Prefontaine Classic, also held in Eugene, Oregon – incredible anticipation preceded her clash with the Tokyo medalists, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson. Nike’s advertising clip was promoted by recalling Aretha Franklin’s famous 1972 album Young, Gifted and Black, in which Richardson told her rivals: “If you need me, I’ll be at the finish line waiting for you.” The almost arrogant lead ended in a huge face-down: Sha’Carri was only ninth and last in the extremely strong field with a time of 11.14 seconds.

He was not able to digest the disappointment for a long time, and he did the same the following year, he did not reach the finals in the 100 and 200 at the American national team, so he could not compete in the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene.

Everyone buried her, the 22-year-old girl, only 155 cm tall, was not considered capable of climbing up from total nothing again.

Maybe only Renaldo Nehemiah trusted him. The former world record holder athlete, the first to break the time of the 110-meter hurdles under 13 seconds (12.93) and, by the way, won the Super Bowl as an American football player (San Francisco 49ers, 1984) during his running career, included him among his managers, primarily mental Sha’Carri taking the time to confirm.

At the finish line of the 4×100 relay: disappointment on Jackson’s face, euphoria on Richardson’s – the United States was defeated (Photo: Miklós Szabó)


On April 8, 2023, Richardson clocked 10.57 in a race in Florida – his fourth-fastest time of all time was “supported” by a tailwind that was stronger than allowed, 4.1 meters per second, that he was on the right track, as evidenced by his first Diamond League victory in Doha in May (10.76). In July, at the American national team in Eugene, he won the 100 meters with 10.82, so he could travel to the World Championships in Budapest as a favorite – even though he unexpectedly lost just a month before the World Cup, at the István Gyulai Memorial in Székesfehérvár, for example.

“I don’t worry about the world anymore. I already see the whole world as my friend, I feel that the world has turned towards me. At the end of the day, God was always with me. So now that I’ve made it this far, it’s my time. It’s time to do it for myself, for the people who feel the way I do, who look the way I do, and who know the truth about themselves. I represent these people” – he said, swelling with self-confidence, after the preliminaries of the World Cup in Budapest, in which he had the best time with 10.92. (His words can only seem puzzling to us, he told the American press as early as 2021 that he lives with his girlfriend and often sends messages to the LGBTQ community on Twitter.)

Then on August 21, in the Budapest night, he showed that his time had really come: on the outermost, nine course, he knocked down the superstar Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, who was driving for her sixth world championship victory in the 100, and the competitor in explosive form, who looked like a sure winner. Shericka Jackson. She threw her two arms to the sky at the finish line, and with her result of 10.65 seconds she became the seventh fastest woman of all time – Florence Griffith Joyner (10.49), Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.54), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.60) and Carmelita Jeter (10.64). ) ran faster than him, Marion Jones and Shericka Jackson also managed 10.65, but in worse wind conditions than Richardson here.

Ring, earrings, tattoo, hair extensions, wig, artificial nails, make-up… (Photo: Magyar Nemzet/István Mirkó)

After winning the World Cup final, however, he did not thump his chest or throw away his wig when he reached the finish line, as he did after the selection in Eugene, and his enmity with the world stars from Jamaica seemed to have disappeared. As Fraser-Pryce took a selfie with their cellphones of the three podium finishers, the camera showed her asking Richardson, “Do you know how long it’s been since she won an American gold?” To which Sha’Carri laughed and poked at her first: “Because of you!”Then to Shericka Jackson: “Because of you!”

Sha’Carri Richardson became the first US 100 world champion since Tori Bowie’s success in 2017. (The fate of Bowie, who won a silver medal at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing and a gold medal two years later in London, is also puzzling: after his retirement, he could not find his place, became depressed, lost a lot of weight, and did not leave his home. On May 2, 2023, his acquaintances reported him to the police , that she had not been seen for a long time, and when she was found in her home, she had probably been dead for ten days. Her high blood pressure and heart and respiratory failure due to her pregnancy may have caused her death at the age of 32…)

…it always depends on your mood, which look you choose (Photo: Miklós Szabó)

Richardson later won another gold in Budapest as a member of the 4×100 relay, as well as a bronze in the 200 – and adding Noah Lyles’ triple, the English-language press couldn’t help shouting that the Americans are back on top after the great era of the Jamaicans.

“I say never give up! Never let the media, never let outsiders define who you are! Never show anything but yourself and your faith! I say always fight! No matter what others say, fight for yourself!Richardson self-consciously said at the press conference in Budapest, cursing and disarming the journalists who mentioned what had happened in the past and asked questions that seemed unpleasant to him. He was the only one to respond clearly to the question about his chances at the Paris Olympics: “I am ready mentally and physically. And I’m here, as the best in the world, to stay that way. Don’t write that I’m back, because it’s not true. I didn’t come back, I’m even better now!”

(The article was published in the September 16, 2023 issue of Képes Sport, the Saturday supplement of Nemzeti Sport.)

The article is in Hungarian

Tags: Years Roller Coaster ShaCarri Richardson Vomiting Fate


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