‘Delayed Does Not Mean Denied’: Fans Support Sha’Carri Richardson After She Qualifies for the 2024 Paris Olympics Three Years After Being Banned from Tokyo Games

Track and field superstar Sha’Carri Richardson is on her way to the Olympics for the first time after winning the women’s 100-meter final in the U.S. Olympic Trials in a world-leading 10.71 seconds on June 22 on the famed Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

The Dallas native’s face told it all as she crossed the finish line, reveling in her victory and celebrating reaching a goal that she had long prepared herself for. Also going to Paris for the 2024 Games will be her teammates Melissa Jefferson and Twanisha Terry.

Sha'Carri Richardson 2024 Paris Olympics
Sha’Carri Richardson stumbles her way into 2024 Paris Olympics in amazing comeback. ((Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Richardson entered the meet as arguably the most high-profile track athlete in the U.S.

With her bombastic style, outspoken nature, colorful hair and long fingernails, at age 19 she became one of the top 10 fastest women in history after setting the college record of 10.75 seconds in winning the 100 meters title at the 2019 NCAA championships.

Richardson turned professional that summer, and after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the Olympic schedule in 2020, the following year it appeared Richardson was set to take the biggest stage in track and field.

In 2021, she won the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials with a time of 10.86 seconds. However, a few days later, her post-competition drug test revealed she had used marijuana, a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, leading to a suspension that kept her out of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Richardson admitted to using marijuana during the trials in Oregon, where it is legal.

Despite this, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency imposed a 30-day suspension due to the international ban.

However, in a demonstration of true fortitude, she completed a long comeback two years later, winning the 100 meters at the World Championships in Budapest in 2023 with a career-best of 10.65 seconds. She entered this year’s Olympic Trials ranked No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 3 globally, after clocking 10.83 seconds in the 100 on May 25 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

Before punching her ticket to the big international contest, the 24-year-old Richardson’s qualifying races didn’t go as well as she thought they could have. Richardson stumbled out of the blocks in her preliminary 100-meter heat on Friday night. It seems that her shoelaces were untied on one shoe.

Despite the poor start, the 24-year-old quickly recovered and won the race with ease, clocking in at 10.88 seconds — the fastest time among the five heats. The near-capacity crowd at Hayward Field showed their appreciation for her performance

“I definitely didn’t have the start that I have been training to have in this moment, but still I was not panicking, just staying patient, and knowing that no matter what’s going on, to continue to run my race,” Richardson told NBC’s Lewis Johnson after the race. “It just tells me I’m prepared, but I just need to put it all together.”

Still, she is so excited to represent the USA in Paris in her first Olympics.  

One of the first people, outside of her teammates and peers that she hugged was her grandmother Betty Harp, who raised her with her aunt while her parents were estranged.

Congratulations poured in by the boatload.

“We love you Sha’Carri… they tried to turn us against you but it didn’t work. You came back better,” one tweet read.

“Sha’Carri Richardson is officially headed to the 2024 Olympics!!” one person wrote. “So proud of her. She’s not back, she’s BETTER!!”

Some people just offered her sage wisdom, writing, “Delayed does not mean denied.”

Another said, “What an incredible comeback story this is going to be.”

“Every chapter I’ve been through in my life was designed to prepare me for this moment,” Richardson continued. “I cannot wait to go to Paris and represent.”

Park Stories has produced a short film about the young athlete’s life, just in time for her triumphant win.

“Sha’Carri Richardson is about to become a global superstar, but most people still don’t know her story,” the executive producer and director Rand Getlin said on his X profile. “

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