With an incomparable stat record, Sha’Carri Richardson gleams on and off the field, wielding an luminous starpower. She’s poised to win in Tokyo after she clinched an Olympic qualifying 100 m dash over the weekend, but its her gilded persona of resilience and unshakable confidence that has America rooting for her ahead this summer’s games.
In her bright orange hair, long acrylic nails and arguably 25 millimeter lashes, Richardson dashed ahead of her competition in the final meters with a time of 10.86 seconds. Eclipsing some of fastest times in history and .37 seconds shy of Florence Griffith Joyner‘s 1988 world record, the Dallas native is steadily unrolling her path to Olympic greatness and the legacy of unrivaled Black female athletes before our eyes. Her signature style beckons the memories of Yolanda Gail Devers, the last time a U.S. woman to bring home an Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters, and Griffith Joyner, the fastest woman of all time. Both Devers and Joyner defied the culture of sports with their lengthy curved decorative nails and flowing hair on the track. This same act of defiance feels palpable in the way Richardson subtly declares her presence in the arena, never failing to shatter records in her signature glamour.
What’s even more endearing on her road to Tokyo is her heart-rending testimony of family and perseverance. Following her win, Richardson disclosed that just last week her biological mother passed away. She said, “I’m still here,” a resolute proclamation of her strength. She continue, “I’m still choosing to pursue my dreams, still coming out here, still here to make the family that I do have on this Earth proud.” As she candidly puts it, Richardson is “that girl” — no ifs, and, or buts. In a matter of 10.86 seconds, she has reeled us all in into a sport she’s bound to take over and has left us all assured in her inevitable stardom with or without an Olympic gold medal. And honestly, just seeing a Black girl hold out her chest with pride in an arena that so aims to humble Black women with swiftness is enough for any of us to root for.