Athletics-US star Richardson credits growth in Olympic qualifying

By Thomson Reuters Jun 23, 2024 | 12:09 AM

(Reuters) – Sha’Carri Richardson banished painful memories of years past to punch her ticket to the Paris Games on Saturday in the 100 metres, saying she grew both on and off the track to reach the next level of her sport.

Richardson won the 100 metres three years ago at the U.S. Olympic trials but was not allowed to compete at the Tokyo Games after testing positive for cannabis, sparking intense debate and outcry among her legions of loyal U.S. fans.

Richardson appeared to have put the matter behind her on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon, when she won the U.S. trials in a world-leading 10.71 seconds, sending a message to her rivals around the globe.

“In the past three years I’ve grown just (a) better understanding of myself, a deeper respect and appreciation for my gift that I have in the sport, and as well as my responsibility to the people that believe and support me,” she told reporters.

“I feel like all of those components have helped me grow.”

The 100 metres world champion got off to wobbly starts in the opening round and in her semi-final race but kept her nerve straight through to the final, where she had wrested the lead midway through the race.

She became emotional after crossing the finish and ran to the stands at Hayward Field to hug her grandmother, telling reporters later that she had put in work to “grow into the mature young lady that I am today.”

Richardson said she did not have a time goal for Paris and would instead focus on running a “well-executed race.”

“I don’t put a time on myself, I just know that if I execute and run the race that I’ve trained (and) prepared for that the time comes with it,” she said.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Jamie Freed)