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EUGENE, OREGON – Sha’Carri Richardson reacts after finishing last in the 100m race during the Wanda Diamond League Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field on August 21, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo : Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Sha’Carri Richardson’s much-anticipated return did not go according to plan as she finished dead last in the women’s 100-meter race at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday. Her time of 11.04 seconds was the slowest among the field of nine runners, but Richardson insisted afterward that she is not quitting the sport anytime soon.
Richardson told NBC in an interview that it was still a great comeback to the sport, saying, “This is one race. I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of.” Richardson added it would be foolish to count her out, reminding fans that she is the sixth-fastest woman in the sport ever, and nobody can take that away from her.
Richardson struggles in first event since 30-day ban
It wasn’t a complete surprise to see Richardson out of form in this event, as this was her first race since her win in the 100-meter finals at the Olympic trials back on June 19. Richardson was later stripped of that title after she tested positive for a chemical found in marijuana. After accepting the 30-day ban, USA Track & Field decided to leave Richardson off the roster for the Tokyo Olympics.
Richardson later explained that she knowingly used the drug to cope with the stress brought upon by her mother’s death and the pressure she was feeling regarding the Olympic trials. After Saturday’s race, she said that the past month was a journey for her, but she offered no excuses for her poor performance as she’s an athlete at the end of the day.
She was also scheduled to run in the 200-meter final, but Richardson opted to withdraw from that race even before the 100-meter final took place, Prefontaine Classic officials confirmed. Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji eventually won the 200-meter race.
Thompson-Herah steals Richardson’s thunder with second-fastest time ever
Stealing Richardson’s thunder on Saturday was Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah. The Jamaican sprinter surged past the field, finishing with a blistering time of 10.54 seconds, the second-fastest in women’s history in this marquee event.
Thompson-Herah was simply a cut above the rest, posting the fastest time in the world this year as she even bested her gold-medal-winning performance in Tokyo earlier this month. Thompson-Herah came close to breaking Florence Griffith Joyner’s long-standing world record of 10.49 seconds which she set back in 1988.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson joined their Jamaican compatriot on the podium, finishing second and third, respectively. Thompson-Herah, Fraser-Pryce, and Jackson also finished in the same order at the Tokyo Olympics, further cementing Jamaica’s dominance in the sprint events.
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