Sha’Carri Captures Gold at Her First World Athletics Championship
BUDAPEST, Hungary – LSU alumni Sha’Carri Richardson solidified herself as the fastest woman in the world on Monday, winning her first medal at the Budapest World Athletics Championship in the wildest way possible.
Richardson is not new to facing the top competition in the world, but this year’s meet in Budapest marked the first time the Dallas native was able to compete for the United States of America at the World Athletics Championships.
Her weekend started off with the women’s 100-meter preliminary rounds on Sunday. Running in heat five out of lane six, Richardson recorded a time of 10.92 seconds (+0.4 m/s) to lead all runners in the first round. On her way to the finish, Sha’Carri made a gesture of wiping the sweat off her forehead while running through the line.
Monday started off rocky for the young superstar as she finished in third-place in her semi-finals heat with a time of 10.84 seconds (0.4 m/s). The top-two finishers in the semi-finals get the automatic-qualifying spots for the final, sending Richardson to the “Q room” as she had to wait and find out if she would receive one of the two time-qualifying spots after heat three completed. She was the top time qualifier to make it in, but she was handed the much-dreaded lane nine assignment.
The first runner to come out of the tunnel for the 100-meter final was none other than Sha’Carri Richardson. She looked more determined than ever as she walked out with no waving, dancing, or smiling like the other runners that came out after her.
Richardson came out of the blocks blazing, reaching the 10-meter mark before anyone else in 1.83 seconds. In meters 10-60, she fell behind the Jamaican powerhouses in Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who have a combined 13 World Championship titles together. She closed out the final 40 meters in the lead, finishing with a World Championship record and fifth-fastest time in world history of 10.65 seconds (-0.2 m/s).
“I feel amazing about my performance,” said Richardson. “Amazing competition, amazing atmosphere, and doing what I did all season long at practice to accomplish what we need to get accomplished. I felt like being in lane nine allowed me to just focus in on what I needed to execute. I felt no matter what the result was from start to finish in that race, I executed and I was going to be happy no matter what the result was.”
She was almost written off after being handed the lane nine assignment, but if there is anything we have learned from watching Sha’Carri over the years, you cannot count her out no matter the circumstances. The result made her the first runner ever to win a world title after not making the final with an auto-qualifying time. The win also resulted in endless amounts of chills for anyone that watched, and still does every time you rewatch the race.
Richardson’s win made her just the seventh women in world history to go sub-10.70 seconds in the 100m. She is the second youngest to ever reach this feat, doing so at the ripe age of 23 years old, only behind Marion Jones (22). The five other runners and the ages they reached a sub-10.70 time: Florence Griffith-Joyner (28), Shericka Jackson (28), Carmelita Jeter (29), Elaine Thompson-Herah (29), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (34).
“The mission is not complete. I still have the 200 meter left.”
We’d call it a comeback if it was anyone else, but in the words of Sha’Carri, she’s just better.