Perhaps, it was the pressure or the mounting expectation to be the world’s best sprinter. Maybe, it was the criticism and controversy following her failed drug test before the Tokyo Olympics. Did the near two-month layoff since her last race at the Olympic Trials leave her cold?
Fans were stunned Saturday (Aug. 21) when “THAT girl” Sha’Carri Richardson finished in last place in the 100-meter race at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon. The 21-year-old finished ninth with a time of 11.14 seconds — several strides behind the Jamaican trio, who once again, dominated the competition.
Just like they did last month at the Tokyo Olympics, the Jamaican Olympic medalists Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson took first, second and third, respectively. Thompson-Herah bested her Olympic record time of 10.61 seconds Saturday, finishing the race at the Classic in 10.54 seconds. Her time was .10 seconds faster than Richardson’s best time, which she ran at the Trials in June. Viewers hoped to see Thompson-Herah and Richardson neck-and-neck racing to the finish line, but it was Fraser-Pryce and Jackson who emerged as Thompson-Herah’s true competition.
After the race, as Thompson-Herah and her teammates celebrated, Richardson walked off the track with a blank look on her face. Still winded, the track star who lost her biological mother in June, stopped for an interview with NBC Sports.
“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 what I was dealing with. I’m not upset at myself at all.”
“This is one race,” Richardson continued. “I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of. Count me out if you want to. Talk all the shit you want because 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.”
Richardson was also scheduled to compete in the women’s 200-meter race on Saturday afternoon but she withdrew from that race.