“I’m here. I’m the champion,” Sha’Carri Richardson said. “I told you all. I’m not back, I’m better.” And she meant just that.
Sha’Carri Richardson claimed the title of “fastest woman in the world” after winning the women’s 100m at the World Athletics Championship and setting a new record. The Texas native fought her way back to the front of the pack after dealing with an Olympic disqualification in 2021 and an injury in 2022.
The gold medal she earned in Budapest, Hungary on Monday solidifies her place in history. Beyond the work she had to do to overcome the adversity to compete, it was no easy feat to make it to the finals. Nothing was certain as she made the final based on her time and not auto-qualification. On Sunday, Richardson had the fastest qualifying time with 10.92 seconds. Hours before the final she clocked a 10.84 in the semifinals. She placed third in her semifinal heat behind Shericka Jackson and Marie Jose Ta Lou. The top two spots automatically qualified for the finals. Richardson had to wait and see if her time was fast enough based on the following heats.
The rivalry between American and Jamaican sprinters is ongoing and has created an additional dimension of competition within the sport. Legendary Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson, another Jamaican sprinter, were both in the final heat and in prime lane positions. Fraser-Pryce ran in lane 5 and Jackson in lane 4. Richardson was placed in lane 9, out of proximity with the greatest competition. What Richardson proved that day was that she was, in fact, the greatest competition and a far lane placement couldn’t stop what was coming.
Richardson sped past the other women in the final seconds of the race clocking a time of 10.65 seconds which is a new World Championship record. Jackson finished second with a 10.72 time and Fraser-Pryce coasted to third place with a time of 10.77.
Not only did Richardson make history by becoming the first person to win a title after a time-based qualification, she is also the first 100m American work champion in 6 years. Prior to Richardson it was the late great Tori Bowie who won a gold medal at the 2017 World Championships.
Following her race, Richardson, who has in the past implored the media to be more respectful and treat athletes like human beings, made it a point to politely decline speaking to journalists who tried to speak with her. After stopping to talk with a black journalist she waved off the rest saying, “No, thank you!”
Now, as a world champion, Richardson is in a position to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.