In a recent post on Instagram Stories the American shared a picture tagged in Paris, France – the home of the next summer Olympic Games. With it, Richardson wrote: “Paris 2024, history will be made.”
The sprinter’s focus on the future, and particularly the Games, follows a turbulent 2021 season for the track talent.
Richardson first made headlines back in April when she became the sixth fastest woman in history at the 2021 Miramar Invitational in Florida. The 2019 NCAA champion blazed over the line in 10.72, stunning the world and heralding her as a star set for a stratospheric rise.
To put that time in its proper context, only two women this year have gone on to run faster: double Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who ran a time of 10.60 in August, and Tokyo 2020 100m Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah who holds the world lead time of 10.54, also set in August.
Sha’Carri Richardson receives suspension
With a winning time of 10.86 at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, Richardson looked set to qualify for Tokyo 2020. However, on 1 July the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) confirmed that Richardson had accepted a one-month suspension “for an anti-doping rule violation or testing positive for a substance of abuse.”
The sanction came after the sprinter submitted a sample on 19 June that returned positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) classifies THC as a substance of abuse and so is banned in-competition. The positive result submitted by the American at trials, not only led to USADA handing Richardson a sanction, but also subsequently voided her results at the trials.
Though her suspension ended before the start of the athletics program in Japan, USA Track & Field chose not select Richardson for either the 100m or 4x100m relay, leaving her out of the action at Tokyo 2020.
Sha’Carri Richardson comeback marred by disappointment
In late August, following the conclusion of her suspension, the young American talent made her competitive comeback at the Prefontaine Classic. The Diamond League meeting would pit Richardson against a field stacked with Tokyo 2020 medallists including her well-known 100m rivals.
Despite all the anticipation that naturally lingered around the event, Richardson failed to deliver on the promise her times earlier in the year had suggested at Hayward Field.
The sprinter faded early in the race, and in a nine-woman field, crossed the line in last with a time of 11.14.
Later in September at the World Athletics Continental Tour meeting in Cittia di Padova, Richardson fared better in terms of race results, but her time was still far from her best.
She had, once again, been unable to go under 11 seconds (11.19), ultimately coming in just behind eventual race winner and compatriot Javianne Oliver.