Sha’Carri Richardson is still picking up speed

Catching the nation’s eye with her long nails, colorful hair, and unmatched talent, Sha’Carri Richardson has shown the world how authenticity and success go hand in hand since day one.

Born in Dallas, Texas, and raised by her aunt and grandmother, Richardson rose to prominence early in her career. Getting her start as a freshman at Louisiana State University, Richardson became one of the fastest women in history at just 19 years old after breaking the 100-meter collegiate record at the NCAA Division I Championships: she completed her race in just 10.75 seconds. 

From there, Richardson became unstoppable, going on to become the sixth fastest woman of all time and fourth fastest American woman in history by running at 10.72 seconds. She would go on to win the 2023 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and take home the gold at the 2023 World Championships.

For Richardson, competing and winning championships is more than just gaining another title: it serves as a testament to her hard work finally paying off. Following her 2023 World Athletics Championships win, she told NBC Sports what the victory meant to her.

“It meant the people that supported me, the people that believed in me, my family, and just knowing that hard work pays off — it’s been a lot I’ve been going through, but to overcome all of that, and my work speaking for itself and being so silent this year, because I wanted my performance to speak all the words that I needed to speak myself — it feels amazing. It feels like everything done paid off and I’m grateful,” she said. “I feel like I’ve earned the respect for myself.”

Facing public comments on her appearance and concern around her positive test for cannabis use (which kept her from competing in the 2020 Olympics), Richardson is no stranger to hardship. Still, through it all she’s remained true to herself, keeping her career on an upward trajectory and leaving an impact on the communities she’s a part of. 

Richardson’s flair, unapologetic voice, and continued dedication to her craft serve as inspiration to the many people she continues to trailblaze for — though as she told NBC Sports after qualifying for the world championships last year, she’s unconcerned with the world’s opinion of her.

“I’m not worried about the world anymore,” Richardson said. “I’ve seen the world be my friend. I’ve seen the world turn on me. But at the end of the day, I’ve always been with me. God has always been with me, so being on this scale now, it’s my time.”

“It’s always been my time, but now it’s my time to actually do it for myself and the people that feel like me, the people that look like me, and the people that know the truth about themselves as well,” she continued. “I represent those people.”

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