Sha’Carri Richardson is USA’s next sprint star who can shine at next year’s Paris Olympics – but she has a combustible side and even Usain Bolt once told her ‘talk less, train harder’

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Sha’Carri Richardson is USA’s next sprint star who can shine at next year’s Paris Olympics – but she has a combustible side and even Usain Bolt once told her ‘talk less, train harder’

A much-needed new star of athletics emerged this week, with Sha'Carri Richardson seemingly running into her destiny with a blazing 100 meters in 10.65

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A much-needed new star of athletics emerged this week, with Sha’Carri Richardson seemingly running into her destiny with a blazing 100 meters in 10.65 seconds from lane nine of the world championships in Hungary.

A shocking start to her semifinal had only seen her scrape through as the fastest loser after she narrowly recovered to finish third. It was a phenomenal way for any sprinter to win and after walking the walk, Richardson took great pleasure in talking the talk afterwards.

Video surfaced on social media of her breezing past reporters, draped in a United States flag, saying ‘no thank you’ and appearing to reject any offer to speak further on her triumph.

A flamboyant character but at times unpredictable, Richardson was at times abrupt with reporters at her ensuing press conference, flanked by Jamaicans Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who were second and third respectively.

She corrected one reporter for mispronouncing her name and scolded another for referencing that she had missed last year’s world championships.

Sha'Carri Richardson has shown why she can be USA's next athletics star in Hungary this week

Sha'Carri Richardson has shown why she can be USA's next athletics star in Hungary this week

Sha’Carri Richardson has shown why she can be USA’s next athletics star in Hungary this week

Running in lane nine, she recorded a sensational victory in the 100m in Budapest on Monday

Running in lane nine, she recorded a sensational victory in the 100m in Budapest on Monday

Running in lane nine, she recorded a sensational victory in the 100m in Budapest on Monday

The 23-year-old celebrates after receiving the gold medal for her incredible triumph

The 23-year-old celebrates after receiving the gold medal for her incredible triumph

The 23-year-old celebrates after receiving the gold medal for her incredible triumph 

‘Obviously I didn’t make the team last year but I don’t think you had to say that,’ she said. ‘It’s about keeping people around me who genuinely care for me. Just staying dedicated and focused, blocking out the noise, blocking out the media like yourself, and just continuing to go forward.’

She added: ‘I just felt that I executed an amazing race for myself not even knowing where the other ladies were. I was by myself in my own world which honestly has been like that all my life.

‘I’ve always been in my own world, my own element, so lane nine was perfect for me to do what it is that I know to do and focus on myself.’

Born in Dallas, Richardson was raised by her grandmother and an aunt. She has been guarded over her relationship with her mother, who in 2021 she discovered from a reporter in an interview that she had recently died.

Richardson said used marijuana to help her cope after discovering that news and in turn, failed a drugs test that ruled her out of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

‘Honestly, yes, that is the story,’ she told TODAY after the bombshell news of her failed test emerged. ‘I was just thinking it was a normal interview and then to hear that information from a complete stranger, it was definitely triggering. It was definitely nerve-shocking. 

‘No offence against him at all, he was doing his job but that definitely sent me into a state of emotional panic. I was blinded by emotion, blinded by sadness.’

Richardson celebrates with spectators after her eye-catching victory on Monday evening

Richardson celebrates with spectators after her eye-catching victory on Monday evening

Richardson celebrates with spectators after her eye-catching victory on Monday evening 

Richardson was raised by her grandmother - here, she is pictured celebrating with her after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics

Richardson was raised by her grandmother - here, she is pictured celebrating with her after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics

Richardson was raised by her grandmother – here, she is pictured celebrating with her after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 

Richardson would later be banned from the Tokyo Games after testing positive for marijuana

Richardson would later be banned from the Tokyo Games after testing positive for marijuana

Richardson would later be banned from the Tokyo Games after testing positive for marijuana 

This year, Richardson won the US nationals with a time of 10.82 seconds and said: ‘Now, I stand here with you again and I’m ready, mentally, physically and emotionally. I’m here to say, ‘I’m not back, I’m better I’m not back, I’m better.’

She always has talked a good game – too much so, in Usain Bolt’s opinion.

‘I would tell Sha’Carri to train harder and to be focused and not say too much,’ Bolt said to the New York Post in 2021. ‘If you talk that big talk you have to back it up. 

‘So just train hard and focus on that and try to come back do it and then talk about it.’

When Richardson initially qualified for the Olympics in 2021, she thanked her girlfriend for choosing her bright orange hair color. Her style is something she has become equally synonymous for – she often also races with long nails painted exuberant colors.

‘My girlfriend actually picked my color,’ Richardson said. ‘She said it like spoke to her, the fact that it was just so loud and vibrant, and that’s who I am.’

Richardson fronted up about her ban in an interview with TODAY after the shock news broke

Richardson fronted up about her ban in an interview with TODAY after the shock news broke

Richardson fronted up about her ban in an interview with TODAY after the shock news broke

Richardson's energy and flamboyance are good for athletics and will bring eyes to the sport

Richardson's energy and flamboyance are good for athletics and will bring eyes to the sport

Richardson’s energy and flamboyance are good for athletics and will bring eyes to the sport

Richardson never did elaborate further on who her girlfriend is but tweeted out a rainbow emoji that same day. 

It is less than year until the next Olympics, with the women’s 100m final slated for August 3 in Paris at the Stade de France. Richardson will arrive with the eyes of the world on her shoulders.

There is clearly a combustible streak to her character that, while firing her to glory as a sprinter could, at times, be an energy she may need to learn to harness. It is noted, too, that her trainer Dennis Mitchell was convicted of doping in his own career back in 1998.

But if she continues to thrive under the attention she finds herself in, she will be the most captivating competitor at those Games. 

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