It was the race track and field fans had been anxiously waiting for: Sha’Carri Richardson versus the Jamaican Olympic medalists. And rest assured, the ladies did not disappoint. Well, er, sort of.
Following a 30-day suspension for marijuana use that led to her not being selected to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Richardson returned to the track on Saturday (Aug. 21) to face off against Elaine Thompson-Hera, 29, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 34, and Sherika Jackson, 27, the respective gold, silver, and bronze 100-meter medalists.
Hype for the race was only exacerbated following Team Jamaica’s wins in the 100-meter Olympic event and Richardson’s bold tweet, “Missing me yet?”
Missing me yet?
— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) July 30, 2021
So, it was surely no coincidence that the 21-year-old track star was quite literally center stage for the Diamond League’s Prefontaine Classic race at Hayward Field, Ore.—she was assigned to the fifth lane, with Thompson-Herah on her right and Fraser-Pryce and Jackson on her left.
The Jamaicans repeated their Olympic 1-2-3 finish with Thompson-Herah clocking in at 10.54 seconds, the best time in the world this year, a meet record, and a personal best. She also beat her own Olympic record of 10.61 and set the second-fastest women’s time in history, inching closer to Florence Griffith Joyner’s 1988 world record of 10.49.
“I’m a little bit surprised because I’ve not run that fast in five years,” shared the sprinter following her historic win. “But to come back here after two weeks to run another personal best is really amazing.”
Fraser-Pryce and Jackson trailed their teammate to the finish line, placing second (10.73) and third (10.76). Richardson placed ninth—last overall—with a time of 11.14. However, the defeat did not deter the Dallas native from expressing pride in her performance.
“It was a great return back to the sport,” she told NBC immediately after leaving the track. “This is one race. I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of. Count me out if you want to. Talk all the sh*t you want. Because I’m here to stay. I’m not done. I’m the sixth fastest woman in this game ever. Can’t nobody ever take that from me.”
Richardson was highly criticized by many for unsportsmanlike behavior because she did not congratulate the winners on the track and for lacking humility and cursing on air. She later apologized for her impassioned initial interview blaming her love for the sport.
“After the race, I was in the heat of passion. And I apologize for my language, but I’m a warrior,” she explained, adding, “My passion will always come out for my love, for what it is I put my blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice into.”
Following her loss, Richardson withdrew from the 200-meter race, which was won by Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland. Kambundji, who also placed seventh in the 100-meter, beat out America’s most-decorated Olympian Allyson Felix, who placed last in the 200-meter competition.
Watch Richardson’s full 100-meter race and Richardson’s post-race interview below: