U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson is not competing in the Tokyo Games, but she is keeping her name on the minds of supporters and critics.
As the track and field races got underway on July 30 — although it was already the second day of races and July 31 in Japan — Richardson had one question: “Missing me yet?”
The 21 year-old tweeted the question without any context, but people on the internet couldn’t help but assume she was commenting on the performance displayed in the women’s 100 meters sprints. The event is the same one Richardson qualified for with a time of 10.86 seconds in the final of the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 19.
However, after testing positive for marijuana use, the blossoming track star was dished a 30-day suspension that would cost her her Olympic debut. As the sixth-fastest female sprinter in history, Richardson was set to compete against a field that includes Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce — who ran a 10.84 during heat 5 — and Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah who ran a 10.82 in heat 2. Jenna Prandini, who replaced Richardson as one of the three U.S. women running the 100 meters in Tokyo, ran 11.11 in her heat.
Fans of Jamaica’s sprinters were quick to respond to Richardson’s tweet by letting her know her presence was not at all missed.
But those who have supported the up-and-coming track star expressed opposite sentiments, many of whom wished Richardson were running in Tokyo.
Other commenters insinuated that Richardson would be better off cheering on Team USA instead of drawing attention to her absence. She hit back with a second tweet reminding people that they are in no way obligated to continue following her if they don’t like what she has to say.
While Richardson may be keeping an eye on her future competitors, the same cannot be said for them. USA Today reported that multiple 100-meter runnerd were uninterested in talking about Richardson but instead were solely focused on running their best times.
“Regardless of who is here and who is not here, we are gonna compete. Everybody here is great as well,” said Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare.