79.7 F
New York
Saturday, July 20, 2024

Sha’Carri Richardson wins 100 final to make U.S. Olympic team

SportsSha'Carri Richardson wins 100 final to make U.S. Olympic team


EUGENE, Ore. — It started with a stare-down.

Unlike during her two previous heats at the U.S. Olympic trials this weekend when she exuberantly saluted the crowd upon her introduction, Sha’Carri Richardson’s 100-meter women’s final Saturday night at Hayward Field began much differently.

Hands on her hips, she stared straight ahead, locked into a focus that, 10.71 seconds later, made her an Olympian for the first time.

With that blistering time, the fastest in the world by a woman this year, Richardson took gold in the event and punched her ticket to the Paris Olympics. There, she will join training partners Melissa Jefferson and Twanisha Terry, who placed second and third, respectively.

After crossing the finish line, Richardson, 24, jogged half the first turn of the track before dropping to a knee, bending her head and allowing a few moments to let her emotions take over.

“Definitely still confidence, still my exciting normal self, but more so overwhelmed with just emotions of joy,” Richardson said of her postrace celebration. “I know that the hard work I’ve put into, not just physically on the track but as well as mentally and emotionally to grow into the mature young lady that I am today and that I’m going to grow into was a full-fledged surreal moment for me to actually embrace and be able to show to the world and on the track.”

That statement to a packed tent of media following her victory was the first of many Richardson gave as she reflected on the rocky journey she has traversed in recent years.

“Everything I’ve been through is everything I have been through to be in this moment right now,” Richardson said. “There’s nothing I’ve been through that hasn’t designed me to sit right here in front of you to answer this question.”

In June 2021, mere weeks before the pandemic-delayed Olympics in Tokyo, Richardson also won the U.S. trials in the 100 meters, sprinting on the very same track to a 10.86-second finish.

But days later, a positive test for marijuana invalidated that result. Richardson was suspended one month by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which says the substance is “prohibited in-competition.” As a result, she missed an Olympics where she was expected to win a medal.

This time around, she is expected to bring back even more hardware.

“In the past three years, I’ve grown a better understanding of myself, a deeper respect and appreciation for my gift that I have in the sport, as well as my responsibility to the people that believe in and support me,” Richardson said. “I feel like all of those components have helped me grow and will continue to help me grow into the young lady that I have been divined and by God been blessed to be.”

Along with what Richardson says is a deeper admiration for her craft has come tangible success on the track.

This past year alone has been a big one for Richardson, who entered the trials having won the 100 meters at the world championships in Budapest, Hungary, last summer. Her time there was a scintillating 10.65 seconds, a personal best.

It was one of two gold medals she took home from the world championships, with the other coming in the 4×100 relay after her strong anchor leg held off Jamaica in a thrilling finish.

Richardson credited much of her recent dominance to the work of coach Dennis Mitchell along with Jefferson and Terry.

Jefferson said the trio has spent its training days pushing each other hard and lifting up one another.

“These girls have literally been, like, they’re my sisters. I love them to death,” Jefferson said. “If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now. They pushed me in ways I never knew I could be pushed.

“The group in itself, it takes you to another level mentally that, when you step out here on the line, I know for a fact that nobody else can do what I do.”

Richardson also hopes to qualify for Paris in the 200 meters. She holds the third-fastest qualifying time entering that event, behind Tokyo Olympic 200-meter bronze medalist Gabby Thomas and 2024 NCAA 200-meter champion McKenzie Long.

First-round heats in the women’s 200 meters are scheduled for Thursday.

LYLES BLAZES 9.92

Before Richardson took center stage, Noah Lyles, the reigning world champion at 100 meters, ran his preliminary heat in 9.92 seconds, the fastest time in the first round of men’s qualifying. He will race Sunday for a spot in the Olympics.

Lyles, like Richardson, dealt with depression in the COVID-dominated days of the Tokyo Olympics. He made it to the Games but took a bronze medal in the 200. The past 24 months have been about adding the 100 to his repertoire. He looked in good form in his first race this week at Hayward.

“It’s been ‘a long time’ for a long time,” Lyles said. “And I’m just so glad to be happy, glad to be out here, glad to be racing and feeling like myself.”

OTHER TICKETS PUNCHED

Michigan State’s Heath Baldwin won the decathlon to make his first Olympic team. He will be joined by Zach Ziemek, who is on his third team, and Harrison Williams, who is also making his debut.

Jasmine Moore, Keturah Orji and Tori Franklin earned the three spots in the women’s triple jump.

SHOT PUT

Ryan Crouser overcame a balky elbow to win his eighth outdoor national title. He is looking for a third straight Olympic gold medal. Joe Kovacs, who finished runner-up to Crouser at both previous Olympics, finished second, and Payton Otterdahl came in third.

Speaking to the strength of the U.S. in the event, Crouser said, “If the whole world came to trials, they’d get one, maybe one, spot” in the Olympics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Source link

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles