"I'm the champion, I told you all" - When Sha'Carri Richardson defeated Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at World Championships after several career setbacks

Sha'Carri Richardson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce; SOURCE - Getty

In 2023, Sha'Carri Richardson issued a bold statement after defeating Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the World Athletics Championships that year. The latter was vying for her sixth 100m gold at the event.

In 2021, Sha'Carri Richardson had qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after posting a time of 10.86s in the 100m. However, she was handed a one-month suspension after failing a doping test, ahead of the Summer Games held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her test report said that she had been under the influence of cannabis.

Richardson stated that she resorted to drugs to cope with the sudden loss of her biological mother. As a result of her doping ban, she forfeited medals and titles, including her Tokyo Olympics qualification result.

Then, having also missed out on the 100m and 200m finals at the 2022 USATF Championships, the 24-year-old couldn't qualify for the 2022 World Championships, where her Jamaican counterpart Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clinched the 100m gold.

Thus, at the 2023 World Championships, when Richardson shifted the five-time World champion to bronze, she boldly claimed that she was not only back but back as a champion, according to a post by Al Jazeera in 2023.

"I’m here. I’m the champion. I told you all. I’m not back, I’m better!"

To start her journey to the top, Sha'Carri Richardson ran a fourth-fastest (all conditions) 100m time of 10.57s at the 2023 Miramar Invitational. It was followed by her first Diamond League victory and her US National 100m title at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the springboard event for the 2023 Worlds.

The 24-year-old then claimed victory at the 2023 World Athletics Championships by surpassing Fraser-Pryce, who has won more individual sprint titles than any female athlete in history. Fraser-Pryce is also widely considered as the most decorated 100m sprinter, as per many sources. The Olympian has also received the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year in 2023.

"I feel like my performance reflects my training" - Sha'Carri Richardson after her Prefontaine Classic 100m win

Sha'Carri Richardson has also found herself in contention with the fastest woman alive, Elaine Thompson-Herah. Running past her strong rivals, Richardson posted a stunning time of 10.83s in her 100m season-opener at the 2024 Eugene Diamond League.

After days of toiling since the 2023 Worlds to open her 100m in the Olympic season, Richardson felt like her training shone through in her performance.

"I feel like my performance reflects my training, as well as my mindset and as well as my faith. Continuing to understand who I am and develop me as a person, as well as an athlete and a woman," Richardson told The Athletic.

Sha'Carri Richardson will look to make her Olympic debut at the 2024 Paris Olympics, where gates open on 26 July, 2024.

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