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Out track star Sha’Carri Richardson lights up the internet with Olympic trial performance

Sha'Carri Richardson preparing for the 100m race at the Olympics Trials on June 19, 2021.
Sha'Carri Richardson preparing for the 100m race at the Olympics Trials on June 19, 2021. Photo: Screenshot/Team USA

An out 21-year-old became the youngest qualifying track and field athlete so far for the United States this weekend, after winning the 100-meter dash — and the overwhelming support of social media.

Sha’Carri Richardson, a standout from Texas that attended Louisiana State University (LSU) for one year before becoming professional, has secured her trip to her first Olympic Games in Tokyo next month for Team USA.

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Richardson has resisted opening up to press about her personal life, but she did say before the race, “My girlfriend actually picked my [hair] color,” which is bright orange.

“She said it like spoke to her, the fact that it was just so loud and vibrant, and that’s who I am,” Richardson said to reporters, according to the Olympics website.

The Olympics describes Richardson as “Age 21 and standing just 5 foot 1” with “ever-changing hair colour… exceptionally long acrylic nails, and a grandmother she calls her personal ‘superwoman’ for helping her achieve what she has.”

Richardson completed the Olympic trials race in a stunning 10.86 seconds at the Olympic Trials on June 19 in Eugene, Oregon. That’s just a few milliseconds behind her personal best time set in April, clocking in at 10.72 seconds at the same distance. To date, that is the sixth-fastest legal time ever recorded professionally.

She also revealed in an interview right after the race that she found out her mother had passed away last week, but didn’t provide details to NBC. Immediately after winning the race, Richardson hugged her grandmother and credited her for “always being in my corner, no matter what I did.”

She did say, “Nobody knows what I go through… y’all see me on this track and y’all see the poker face I put on. But nobody but [my family] and my coach know what I go through on a day-to-day basis.”

Richardson has shown she’s not shy, however, about two things: her ability and her pride.

“I just want the world to know I’m that girl,” she said to NBC immediately after.

When questioned about potentially experienced, older opponents she may face at the Olympics, Richardson said, “If you’ve been doing this and I step on the scene, I’m letting you know I respect you for you putting on for our sport… but at the end day, when we get on this line, what you’ve been doing, you have to do that against me.”

Richardson has also made several posts on social media, some in recognition of Pride Month but others that are more cryptic, and even TikToks joking about her relationship with her girlfriend.

@1carriLol I think I’m starting to like TIK TOK 😂😂♬ Leave The Door Open – Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic

She’s already drawing comparisons to the late Florence “FloJo” Griffith-Joyner, another Olympic track and field athlete who won three Olympic gold medals and two silver medals in her career.

Another Olympic athlete, gymnast Simone Biles, has already begun supporting Richardson. “I’m a fan,” she said.

So is Allyson Felix, her teammate and six-time Olympic gold medallist.

“I think her energy is incredible,” Felix said. “Obviously she has so much talent. It’s really fun for all of us to watch her and see that spirit of hers.”

She hopes to become the first American to win gold in the 100 meters race since 1996, when Gail Devers brought it home at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.

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