Perhaps the biggest story surrounding the United States track and field in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics was the decision to suspend top women’s sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson following a positive test for marijuana. Viewed as the Americans’ best chance at winning a medal in the 100m dash, Richardson couldn’t participate in that event and was not selected to join the 4×100 team, as per the usual protocols that the USATF follows while assembling its group of sprinters.
Richardson finally returned to the track on Saturday at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon, where she competed in the 100m against a field that included the three women — Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson — who medaled in Tokyo. Unfortunately for Richardson, the race didn’t go as she had hoped, as she came in last place with a time of 11.14.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 21, 2021
Prefontaine Classic women's 100m results:
1. Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.54)
2. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.73)
3. Shericka Jackson (10.76)
Sha'Carri Richardson finishes ninth
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) August 21, 2021
Despite the finish, Richardson spoke to NBC following the race and made clear that she was proud of her effort after how the last month went.
Certainly the most interesting interview by someone who finished last you'll see in awhile. pic.twitter.com/1tsoRTsxxi
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 21, 2021
“Coming out today, it was a great return back to the sport,” Richardson said. “I wanted to be able to come and perform, having a month off dealing with all I was dealing with, I’m not upset with myself at all. 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, cause 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. Congratulations to the winners, congratulations to the people that won, but they’re not doing seeing me yet.”
The good news for Richardson is that despite the tough afternoon, she is right to have optimism — at only 21, Richardson’s personal best time in this event of 10.72 seconds is the sixth-fastest in history and would have came in second place on Saturday.