Meet Sha'Carri Richardson, the 21-Year-Old Olympic Runner Who Deserves Your Attention

Sha'Carri Richardson, the 21-year-old track sensation from Dallas, is a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Her impressive performance at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, combined with her vibrant hair and bold personality, has drawn nationwide attention.

In Eugene, Oregon, at Hayward Field, Richardson dominated the 100-meter dash, clocking in at an impressive 10.86 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials. This remarkable achievement, coinciding with the inaugural national observance of Juneteenth in America, has earned her a well-deserved place on Team USA.

In the coming month, Richardson will join the ranks of other exceptional athletes who have qualified for the track and field events at the Tokyo Olympics. With her unerring focus and relentless drive, her forthcoming performances promise to be nothing short of spectacular, bringing glory to herself and her country.

At the tender age of 21, Sha'Carri Richardson is not only the youngest among the three 100-meter qualifiers in Team USA, but also one of the world's swiftest female athletes. Her prowess was first evident in 2019 when she triumphed at the NCAA title as a freshman from Louisiana State University, setting a new college record with 10.75 seconds. Later in April this year, she set another milestone by running the women's 100 in a record-breaking 10.72 seconds. This is considered the most rapid wind-legal time for an American competitor in nearly ten years. Despite a tailwind aiding her to run an astounding 10.64 seconds in the 100-meter dash, it didn't count towards the record due to excess wind speed. Furthermore, Richardson proudly aligns herself with the LGBTQ+ community and subtly marked her participation in Pride Month with a rainbow emoji tweet preceding her remarkable performance. A striking feature during her trials were her lengthy lashes, vibrant orange hair, and long pink acrylic nails which, as she revealed to USA Today, were all her girlfriend's selection. She said, "My girlfriend actually picked my color. She felt it was loud and vibrant, much like who I am." Richardson hasn't publicly discussed her relationship, but being an openly queer, Black athlete sends a powerful message to budding athletes and sports enthusiasts who can identify with her. Public figures such as Richardson and Carl Nassib, the first NFL player to come out as gay, can help break down societal stereotypes and stigmas associated with marginalized identities in sports, making it a significant victory for everyone.

Upon learning of her qualification for Tokyo, Richardson instantly rushed to her grandmother, Betty Harp, who was present in the stands cheering her on. Her family, particularly her grandma, holds an instrumental place in her life. Sharing with reporters later, she said, "My grandma is my inspiration, my superhero. Having her witness one of the most significant races of my life and crossing the finish line only to run up the steps as an official Olympian felt incredible."

Rather poignantly, she disclosed the loss of her biological mother just a week before the trials. This revelation underscores her willpower and determination to press forward. She mentioned to ESPN, "My family has been my rock. It's been a rollercoaster year for me...The news of my biological mother's death coupled with my decision to chase my dreams, to persistently show up here, to make proud the family I still have on this earth."

She went on to explain how much she values her privacy saying that, "Sure, everyone faces challenges, I'm aware of that. But the world sees me on this track, they see the brave face I wear, but no one except my family and coach truly knows what I deal with daily. Their support means the world to me. Without them, there wouldn't be a 'me.' Without my grandmother, Sha'Carri Richardson would not exist. My family is everything to me, my everything until I draw my last breath."

Her longtime loved ones and newfound fans alike are no doubt excited to see her achieve her dreams by making it to the Olympics next month. The only question that remains? What color hair she'll be sporting. Stay tuned, because she's surely going to serve some unforgettable looks — and run some equally legendary times.

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