It was just over 12 months ago that Sha’Carri Richardson advertised herself as a challenger, a contender for the title of the fastest woman alive.
After winning the 100m at the USA Track & Field Olympic trials, the stage was set for Sha’Carri to upstage her more-favoured rivals and crown herself Olympic champion, a title the Americans have not won since Marion Jones claimed that crown at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and even then, she was later stripped of her medals after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs.
The opportunity to win the Olympic title did not materialise for the American as she received a one-month ban after testing positive for marijuana. This was a major disappointment for the Americans and for supporters of the sport, who were looking forward to an exciting showdown.
But, alas, there was light at the end of the tunnel, Sha’Carri later tweeted, “I’m sorry, I can’t be y’all Olympic champ this year, but I promise I’ll be your world champ next year.” This tweet set the stage for the World Championships to be held in Oregon and had everyone salivating at the prospect of a showdown with her Jamaican counterparts.
Whilst glued to the Jamaican trials to select the team for the World Championships, many of us would have had an eye on the USA trials happening in Eugene, Oregon, the same track on which the World Championships will be held, and when news filtered through that Sha’Carri had crashed out of the 100m, disappointment immediately filled the air as the much-anticipated showdown once again will not materialise.
Sha’Carri’s flamboyance is Flo Jo-esque, but her efforts on the track have yet to match those of the world record holder. Running faster from the media than she does on the track, it appears the pressures of the sport are too much for the vivacious American.
While she may be of the view that her haters are many, most will accept that she brings excitement to the sport but, unfortunately, to date, has failed to bring the stiff level of competition that both her supporters and haters would expect.
The name Sha’Carri Richardson will always excite track fans, given she talks the talk, the hope is that sooner rather than later she’ll get her act together and become the sprinter the sport deserves.
Usain Bolt once gave her words of encouragement, “Train harder and don’t say too much,” which weren’t well received, but, if we are to be honest, we do enjoy the trash talk.
Nonetheless, the day she begins to live up to the hype we’ll see even more growth in the sport, but until then we’ll continue to delight in the unmatched dominance of the Jamaican sprint queens.