The anticipated matchup between Sha’Carri Richardson and the women of Jamaica’s Olympic track and field team will happen after all.
Richardson is set to race against Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson who finished one-two-three respectively at the 100-meter event during the Tokyo Olympics earlier this month. All four sprinters will compete with a group of five others at the Prefontaine Classic on Aug. 21.
Taking place at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., the competition places the fastest sprinters in the world head-to-head. Briana Williams, a fourth member of Team Jamaica at the Tokyo Olympics, will also run in the Prefontaine Classic. At 19 years old, she is the youngest athlete set to compete. Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Côte d’Ivoire, who was the first non-Jamaican in Tokyo taking fourth place, is also set to race.
Mujinga Kambund of Switzerland, and Javianne Oliver and Teahna Daniels, both of the United States, are all slated to run. Ahead of the competition, Thompson-Herah, Fraser-Pryce, and Richardson have the fastest personal best times for the 100-meter sprint at 10.61, 10.63, and 10.72 respectively.
Many fans of the sport had hoped the athletic showcase between Richardson and her Jamaican peers would take place during the Tokyo Olympics; however, the 21-year-old sprinter was disqualified after testing positive for THC and receiving a 30-day suspension. Although she would have been eligible to compete in the relay races, she was not selected for the team.
“I’d like to say to my fans and my family and my sponsorship…the haters, too. I apologize,” she said after the suspension. “As much as I’m disappointed, I know that when I step on the track I represent myself. I represent a community that has shown me great support and great love…I apologize for the fact that I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions,” she continued, adding, “Like I tweeted yesterday, I’m human…I’m like you, I just happen to run a little faster.”
The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track and field meet in America and is part of the Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. Named for Steve Prefontaine, a legend in the sport of track and field who tragically died after a car accident in 1975 at the age of 24, the race has occurred every year since, except for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.