Sha’Carri Richardson has had an interesting three months, to say the least.
She’s gone from America’s darling to one of the most polarizing figures in the current sports landscape in one summer. She’s been the recipient of her fair share of internet slander. A lot of it has come as a byproduct of the unfair scrutiny all Black women receive when they reach a significant status, and a lot of it has been because of her screw-ups.
And this week Richardson continues to keep stirring the pot after she responded to a comment made by Olympic Legend Usain Bolt.
“I would tell Sha’Carri to train harder and to be focused and not say too much,” said Bolt in an interview with the New York Post. “So just train hard and focus on that and try to come back do it and then talk about it,”
According to The Shade Room, Richardson then took to her Instagram story and posted a statement that another user wrote in her comment section. Richardson basically co-signed what the user said about people making statements in the media and not coming to her personally.
Like so many other things this year, Richardson should use this as a learning experience. She already messed up one, when Allyson Felix tried to give her some support publicly and it appeared she said something similar in reference to her.
The Bolt situation should have been her chance to right her wrong. The fact of the matter is when two of the best Olympic track stars of all time speak about your performance as a track athlete, it’s highly likely that they know what they are talking about and you should probably just sit back and listen. When she goes back and forth with these legends she not only alienates herself in the track community but she loses the support of many of the fans that had been rocking with her.
This is not meant to shame Richardson, but it does highlight the growth that she needs to make as an individual. These stars don’t owe you a phone call, especially after you came in dead last in one of your recent competitions. Their co-sign and their critiques could be vital for Richardson in her quest to return to the athlete who at the time posted the sixth fastest 100m dash time in women’s history earlier this year.
She’s 21 years old and she’s still learning how to be on the public stage. Deciphering what is a critique and what is an attack is a tough lesson for any young person to learn and hopefully, Richardson will grasp that lesson in time.
We have to remember how tough of a year it’s been for her. She lost her biological mother, she lost a chance to go to the Olympics, and she got dusted in her comeback race in August. This could just be a young woman trying to figure out everything as the world is coming at her.
Richardson will hopefully put all the pieces together one day and prayerfully it will start with listening to the legends that came before her.