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The postponed 2020 Olympics, which finally took place this year, was a hot-buttoned topic for many reasons – some good and others not so great. From Coronavirus protections to hair caps being restricted for Black swimmers to Olympians making history, there was always something from the two-week-long event circulating in the news cycle and on social media every single day it went down. However, one of the biggest conversations to come out of the international sports competition surrounded track and field – and specifically U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson.
The world first learned of the 21-year-old when she zoomed past the competition and won the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympics trials in Eugene, Oregon back in June. From her fiery red hair to her speed, confidence, and touching backstory, her victory went viral. Unfortunately, her major moment was short-lived because a couple of weeks later, it was revealed that she was suspended for one month due to failing a mandatory drug test. She tested positive for marijuana, which is banned from the Olympics by the World Anti-Doping Agency. This meant that she wouldn’t compete in the event’s 100-dash.
Moreover, the young athlete got hit with another blow a few days after that when USATF (United States of America Track & Field) confirmed that Richardson was also being left out of the Olympics’ 4 x 100 relay race, thus completely erasing any chance she had at competing in Tokyo this go-round.
The track star was determined to pick herself up and get back to business at the Prefontaine Classic in August. However, she unfortunately finished last place after competing against other runners including Jamaican Olympic gold medalists Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson. “I’m not upset at myself at all. This is one race. I’m not done,” she told reporters after her loss. “Count me out if you want to. Talk all the s—t you want. ‘Cause I’m here to stay. I’m not done.”
Richardson even received some recent backlash on social media after many believed that she insulted Olympian Allyson Felix after the historic runner gave her some uplifting words in a TV interview as she went through these tough times.
Though it seems like Richardson hasn’t been able to catch a break this summer, one person who appears to be rooting for her is the biggest track and field athlete alive: Usain Bolt. Widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time, he quietly watched the Olympics this year and shared his views on the event, Richardson, and everything in between.
“For me, I’ve always said one thing: rules are rules,” Bolt exclusively told REVOLT about Richardson’s initial suspension. “They’re in place for a reason. That’s how I’ve always looked at track and field. Because as soon as you get your agent, or your coach, or the person they have around you, [he/she] has to explain to you that, listen, these are the rules of the sports that you’re in. You can’t do this. You can’t do that. You can’t take this, you can’t do that.”
He added: “I know it must be tough on her. And I’ve always said you should have people around you now to explain it, to make sure this mistake doesn’t happen again.”
The Olympic great is actually a fan of Richardson’s personality, too. “I like her energy because I think she’s good for the sport because her energy is different. It’s spicy, it’s a vibe,” he continued.
Giving her some kinds words of advice, Bolt added, “You will have failures throughout your career, it’s just one of those things. In my first Olympics in Athens, I didn’t make it outside the first round. So, it’s just about being determined and pushing yourself, and just believing that you can do it, and just go and do your best.”
Speaking about the argument that Richardson is “too confident” and “not humble enough,” Bolt said to each their own. “Everybody is different. But, I think she brings a different spice to track and field. And sometimes sports need somebody like that to give the energy, to get people talking about it,” he told us.
“And she does get people talking about track and field. So, for me, that’s something that I personally feel is good for the sport. Because track and field is not the biggest sport in the world that people actually go, ‘You know what? Let’s go watch track and field.’ So, for me, if they’re talking about it because she’s high energy and vibes, then for me, I’m okay with it.”
On a funnier note, when asked if he foresees another country ever beating Jamaica in the Olympics in the future, Bolt said: “I don’t know. The possibility’s there. There’s a lot of talent around the world. But, it’s just to find that at times. Because, as I said, in a lot of countries, track and field is not the biggest sport. There may be talent out there, but it’s to find it.”
He closed while laughing, “I hope not though. That’s all I have to say, I really hope not.”
Be sure to catch part two of our exclusive chat with Usain Bolt as he talks to us about his upcoming debut dancehall album and more Olympics topics dropping on REVOLT.tv soon!