Sha’Carri Richardson wins U.S. 100m title and says, ‘I’m here to stay’
EUGENE, Oregon — Sha’Carri Richardson sprinted to her first U.S. 100m title, and moments later reflected on the Tokyo Olympic Trials on the same track.
“I’ve been a champion,” she said when told by Lewis Johnson that she made her first world championships team. “The thing I remember the most is the last time I think I stood here, on this stadium, with you, and I did an interview when I knew I wasn’t ready to do one. But now I stand here with you again, and I’m ready, mentally, physically and emotionally, and I’m here to stay.”
Richardson then repeated a line that she has used throughout this resurgent season. “I’m not back. I’m better,” she said, after which she blew a kiss to the camera and walked away to continue her celebration.
Richardson clocked 10.82 seconds at Oregon’s Hayward Field, overtaking Brittany Brown (10.90) and Tamari Davis (10.99), who also made their first U.S. 100m team.
Richardson also crossed the finish line first at the Tokyo Olympic Trials at Hayward Field two years ago, but that was later annulled for testing positive for marijuana, which she used after learning of the death of her biological mother before that meet.
There were similarities between that race and Friday’s final.
Both times, Richardson came onto the track with fiery orange-colored hair. But on Friday, she took off her green headband and orange wig during her introduction and tossed them on the track behind her. That revealed braids with a star woven above one ear and a heart woven above the other.
Both times, Richardson was beaten out of the blocks by the woman to her inside, yet surged ahead in the second half of the race.
Both times, Richardson celebrated by entering the spectator seats. Two years ago, she hugged grandmother Betty Harp. She appeared to embrace friends and/or family members in the fifth row on Friday evening.
Richardson is the world’s second-fastest woman this year after posting a personal-best 10.71 seconds in Thursday’s first round, the fastest time by an American in 12 years. Last year, she was eliminated in the first round at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, then later said she was injured.
Now, she goes into August’s worlds in Budapest as a medal favorite. Only Jamaican Shericka Jackson has gone faster in 2023 than Richardson, clocking 10.65 at her national championships earlier Friday. Richardson beat Jackson in their lone head-to-head this season on May 5.
Last year’s world champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, has yet to race in 2023, reportedly sidelined by an injury in the spring.
Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah, the two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist, was fifth at her trials Friday.
Also Friday, Cravont Charleston was the upset U.S. men’s 100m champion, overtaking 2019 World champ Christian Coleman, 9.95 to 9.96.
World 200m champion Noah Lyles took third in 10.00 for the last spot on the world team, coming back from a COVID-19 bout. Defending world champion Fred Kerley did not race the 100m this week but has a bye into worlds.
Charleston, a 25-year-old without a shoe sponsor, never previously raced a 100m final at an NCAA Championships or a USATF Outdoor Championships, his career somewhat hampered by hamstring and foot injuries. Though he did enter the meet with a faster time this year (9.90) than Coleman (9.91) and Lyles (9.95).
Charleston’s coach in North Carolina, 1996 Olympic 110m hurdles champion Allen Johnson, told him before the biggest race of his life, “you belong.”
After the race, the two men met up and exchanged the same word, “finally.”
World bronze medalist Anna Hall cruised to win the heptathlon with 6,677 points at a meet where she had a conservative approach, not looking to set a personal-best total. Her spot on the world team was all but assured because no other American has the world championships qualifying standard.
Hall has the world’s best point total this year — 6,988 from May 28 — to become the No. 2 American in history behind world record holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
At worlds, Hall will bid to become the fifth woman to ever break 7,000 points and to dethrone Belgian Nafi Thiam, the reigning world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. Joyner-Kersee is the lone American to win an Olympic or world title in the heptathlon, doing so four times combined.
Harrison Williams won the decathlon with 8,630 points, a personal best by 138 points and matching Kyle Garland, who was fourth here, for third-best total in the world this year. Garland can still make the three-man world team if third place Austin West does not get the qualifying standard or world ranking.
Vashti Cunningham earned her sixth consecutive high jump title. Donald Scott won the triple jump, while two-time Olympic champion Christian Taylor was eighth in a bid to extend a streak of making world teams dating to 2011. Taylor has been working his way back from a ruptured Achilles that ruled him out of the Tokyo Olympics.
USATF Outdoors continue Saturday, highlighted by Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone in the 400m final, live at 9 p.m. ET on CNBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.