Sha'carri Richardson

Every so often, a once-in-a-generation athlete appears on the scene, and we've just witnessed one of those athletes fly through the Olympic trials and emerge as the fastest woman in the U.S.

21-year-old Sha'carri Richardson is only five feet one-inch tall, and she ran the 100-meter dash against a headwind in only 10.86 seconds, handily beating out the other nine runners on the track.

It wasn't just the win that has people talking. It was how she pulled ahead in the final half of the sprint. It was how she pointed to the clock in the final 30 meters of the semifinal heat, knowing she was dominating the field. It's the visual flair—the flaming orange hair, huge eyelashes, and long, bejeweled nails. And it was her rush to the stands to bury her face into her beloved grandmother's lap after her final heat win.

Richardson had been a teenage track star, taking home multiple national titles during her high school years. After a year running collegiate track at LSU, she decided to go professional. She knows she's good, and she wants the world to know that she knows.


"I just want the world to know that I'm that girl," she told NBC Sports after the semifinal run. "Every time I step on the track, I'm going to try to do what it is that me, my coach (and) my support team believe I can do, and (with) the talent that God blessed me to have."

She finished the semifinal heat with a time of 10.64 seconds, pointing to the time clock in the final stretch. Since it was aided with a tailwind, it doesn't count toward her personal best (which currently stands at 10.72 seconds, making her the second-fastest woman in the world, only behind Jamaica's Shelly Ann Fraser-Price). But the flourish counts for something.



"When you stand five feet one-inch tall, you get told your entire life what you can and cannot do," the announcer said in the lead-up to the final Olympic trial. "That chip on her shoulder is because every time she's been told that. She's been able to overcome those odds and get it done."

In a post-race interview, Richardson talked about how much her family and coach's support means to her.

"My grandmother is my heart," Richardson said after the race. "My grandmother is my superwoman, so to be able to have her here for the biggest meet in my life and being able to cross the finish line and run up the steps knowing I'm an Olympian now is just so amazing."

She revealed in a television interview after returning to the track that she had found out her biological mother had passed away the week before. In praising her family and coach, Richardson began to choke up.

"Nobody knows what I go through," she said. "Everybody has struggles and I understand that. Y'all see me on this track and y'all see the poker face that I put on, but nobody but them and my coach knows what I go through on a day-to-day basis. And I'm highly grateful to them. Without them, there would be no me. Without my grandmother, there would be no Sha'carri Richardson. My family is my everything. My everything, until the day I'm done."

Watch the final heat and post-race interview here:

Sha'Carri Richardson, now America's fastest woman, scorches her Olympic Trials final | NBC Sports www.youtube.com

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

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