Meet the Fastest Woman in America: Sha'Carri Richardson

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Sha'Carri Richardson is on her way to becoming a household name so if you're unfamiliar, time to get acquainted.

The 21-year-old American sprinter secured her spot as part of the U.S. Track & Field contingent for this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo this week when she ran a 100-meter race in just 10.64 seconds.

Richardson has been making waves on social media for both her running prowess, fiery orange mane, and what she said and did after her race. Upon completion of the 100-meter, Richardson climbed halfway up the stands at Hayward Field and embraced her grandmother, Betty Harp, whom she also calls “Big Momma.” 

“To be able to have her here at the biggest meet in my life, and to cross the finish line and run up the steps to hug her knowing I’m an Olympian, actually that’s probably better than winning the race,” the athlete told the Associated Press (AP).

The tender moment was particularly impactful because Richardson's biological mother died just last week. She revealed the situation in a post-race interview with ESPN, sharing that her "family has kept me grounded."

"I'm still here. Last week, finding out my biological mother passed away and still choosing to pursue my dreams, still coming out here, still here to make the family that I do still have on this earth proud. And the fact [is] nobody knows what I go through. Everybody has struggles and I understand that, but y'all see me on this track and y'all see the poker face I put on, but nobody but them and my coach know what I go through on a day-to-day basis," she explained, before adding: "I'm highly grateful for them. Without them, there would be no me. Without my grandmother, there would be no Sha'Carri Richardson. My family is my everything, my everything until the day I'm done."

It's unclear how Richardson's mother passed, but a marvel that Richardson was able to show up in the wake of such an event. 

We'll see what speeds Richardson brings to Tokyo next month, but the up-and-comer seems confident on what she's bringing to the table. She told the AP: “If you’ve been doing this for a long time and I step on the scene, I respect you for what you’ve done for the sport. But at the end of the day, when we get on the line, you have to do it against me.”

Tags: Groundbreaking Women, Pop Culture

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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