Deprived of a chance to test her speed in the Tokyo Olympics, sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson will get her chance to compete against the Jamaican runners who swept the 100-meter medals.
Thompson-Herah won the race and her second gold in the 100 with an Olympic-record 10.61-second run, followed by Fraser-Pryce in 10.74 and Jackson in 10.76. Teahna Jackson, the lone American runner in the final, was seventh in 11.02.
The Prefontaine Classic takes place at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, where Richardson finished first in the U.S. Olympic trials in June with a time of 10.86 seconds. But Richardson missed the Games because a drug test showed marijuana in her system. She admitted smoking marijuana, which is legal in Oregon, after learning of the death of her biological mother, took responsibility for it and accepted her punishment, a month-long suspension by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Richardson’s personal best is 10.72, a mark she set in winning gold in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in April. That was the sixth-fastest time ever among female runners and the fourth-best mark ever by an American woman.
She blossomed at the trials, becoming an instant star with her orange hair flying as she tore down the track. With colorful fingernail extensions, bold eyelashes and a bubbling personality, the 21-year-old pointed to the clock as she crossed the finish line in a semifinal and told an interviewer, “I want the world to know I am that girl.”
Now, she’ll get the chance to prove it against the world’s best sprinters.
“I use my age as, honestly, an intimidating factor,” Richardson said at the trials. “If you’ve been doing this and I step on the scene, I’m letting you know I respect you for putting on for our sport. But at the end of the day, when we get on this line, what you’ve been doing, you have to do that against me.”
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