Jaelen Ogadhoh thegrio.com
After missing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to a marijuana suspension, star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson now has a chance to prove what could have been.
The 21-year-old, known for her world-class speed and charisma, will race against all three Olympic 100-meter medalists in the Prefontaine Classic which kicks off August 20 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Many had Richardson as their Olympic gold medal favorite after she won the 100-meter race at the U.S. Olympic trials in June with a time of 10.84 seconds. At the Miramar Invitational in April, she ran a 10.72 — the sixth fastest women’s 100-meter time ever — which would have been good enough for second place in Tokyo.
Shortly after her trials win, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced Richardson tested positive for cannabis, nullifying her trials time and landing her a 30-day suspension which caused her to miss the Olympics.
“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart about Richardson’s suspension. “Hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her.”
With Richardson out, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson won gold, silver and bronze medals respectively, marking the first Jamaican sweep in the event since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, per ESPN.
Richardson may have an opportunity to show how she could have performed in Tokyo had she not been disqualified, as six of the nine lanes at the Prefontaine Classic 100-meter event will be filled by Olympic finalists. Aside from the three medalists, the race will include the United States’ Teahna Daniels, Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji and Côte d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou.
Tracktown USA tweeted Saturday that the race will feature “the best 100m field ever assembled.”
“Sha’Carri is focused on running a good race since she last competed at the US Olympic Trials,” her agent Renaldo Nehemiah told the Wall Street Journal via email. “She will be focused on executing her race to the best of her ability regardless of who is in the race.”
Richardson herself has not yet commented publicly on the upcoming event, but a recent Twitter interaction with a fan suggests she’s been staying ready since missing the Olympics. Two days before the official lineup was announced, Richardson was asked by a fan on Twitter which songs she listens to while running, to which Richardson replied with lyrics from Meek Mill’s Dreams and Nightmares: “Hold up wait a minute, y’all thought I was finished 😈😈😈.”
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