This weekend will mark the first time that we’ll see Sha’Carri Richardson on a track since her Olympic dreams were put on hold.
Richardson was the focal point of conversations about mental health, marijuana, and the legitimacy of outdated Olympic rules when she tested positive for THC in July and was subsequently kept out of Olympic competition.
Before her positive drug test, Richardson was poised to be one of the darlings of the Olympic Games for the United States. She was supposed to be up there with Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky as one of the nation’s top attention grabbers.
Yet, after testing positive for THC, the narrative around Richardson quickly began to change. Her decision transformed Richardson from a unique, lovable athlete into a polarizing figure. All this was transpiring at a time where she was dealing with the loss of her biological mother.
Everyone had an opinion on her situation. Some were more compassionate than others. The fact of the matter is that we can all speculate about what we would have done in her shoes and how we would have handled it but frankly, we’re not Richardson and we had no idea what she was going through during that time.
She paid the consequences for those actions and now she’s moving forward. Richardson will be on the track at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon.
Richardson will compete against a 100 meters field that is similar to the group she likely would have raced against in Tokyo.
Jamaica’s outstanding trio of Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson who won gold, silver, and bronze respectively will all be competing.
This will be the perfect opportunity for Richardson to put herself right back in the conversation as the fastest woman in the world if she’s able to perform well.
All the naysayers and doubters of Richardson could eat their words once Richardson crosses that line on Saturday. The competition will be stiff because of the elite-level athletes, but through all of her circumstances, people need to remember that Richardson is elite too.