Track and Field Superstar Sha’Carri Richardson sprinted into the spotlight at Louisiana State University, where then 19-year-old Richardson broke the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships record and entered the top ten fastest women of all time when she ran the 100-meter dash in 10.75 seconds.
“When I have to line up for a race, and I only have to run for less than 11 seconds, if I have to put my body through that,” said Richardson in a 2020 interview with Riley Wolff on the “Running Things” podcast. “I’m telling you and you’re gonna best believe me feel that at the finish line you’re gonna feel the work that I put in.”
Even for uninitiated viewers, Richardson’s charisma and achievements transcend the track and field world, and her undeniable appeal makes her an up-and-coming icon of the sport.
Richardson’s signature neon hair and long nails—an at-first unintentional callback to Track and Field legend and fastest woman of all time “Flo-Jo” Florence Griffith Joyner—make her an unmissable burst of color on the field.
“No matter what color my hair is. No matter how long my nails are. No matter how outspoken I am, my talent speaks for itself,” said Richardson during her acceptance speech for the 2019 Bowerman award. “When I step on the track, it doesn’t matter what I look like, what color I am. If I can do it, I’m a do it. The time speaks for itself.”
Richardson was born in Dallas, Texas on March 25th, 2000. Not an especially outgoing child, Richardson came into her own running track in high school, and her newfound popularity had her dashing out of her shell.
The 5-foot-1 blur garnered attention in the sport after her 100-meter-dash wins at the 2016 AAU Junior Olympics and 2017 USA Track and Field Junior Championships.
During her freshman year at Louisiana State University, Richardson pulled a Southeastern Conference (SEC) Outdoor Championships sweep, when she won the 100 and 200-meter dash and jointly won the 4X100 relay, under the guidance of Coach Dennis Shaver.
After a brief but incredibly successful run at LSU, Richardson turned professional.
Despite the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and pandemic restrictions, Richardson managed to set a personal record of 22 seconds in the 200-meter dash in 2020.
After qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics—now set for 2021—with a stunning 100-meter dash win at the Oregon trials, Richardson blazed through the stands where she embraced her tearful grandmother. The triumphant moment came a week after Richardson learned of her biological mother’s death—news she learned from a reporter.
In a devastating turn of events, Richardson tested positive for marijuana, putting her on a 30-day ban from the Olympics.
In a Today Show interview, Richardson addressed the disappointing result and her still-bright future.
“I just say don’t judge me because I am human,” said Richardson in the interview with Savannah Guthrie. “I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster.”