2024 Paris Olympics

How Sha'Carri Richardson's Dallas roots have helped her on quest for redemption

Her next big hurdle -- the Olympic Trials in June to qualify for Team USA at the Paris Olympics

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Team USA sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson says, “I’m not back, I’m better.” Sprinting toward the Paris Olympics, the runner doesn’t hide behind her journey -- she embraces it.

Richardson claimed the title of fastest woman in the world at the World Athletic Championships in Budapest, Hungary in October 2023. Her meteoric rise is no surprise to the people in North Texas who have been following her career since she excelled at Dallas ISD's Carter High School.

“Dallas is a special place to me,” Richardson said. “Dallas means a lot to me because of the simple fact that it’s where I’m from. I started my journey there of being not even just an athlete, but a child, a young woman.”

The 23-year-old said Dallas means many things to her, but culture, big city, family and where dreams come true rush to mind.

It's also a place that is giving back to her, as well.

“I ended up finding out a track was going to be named after me after Budapest, after winning [the 100-meter race making her the fastest woman in the world],” Richardson said. “My godmother, who is actually my coach, who was my high school coach, told me that they want to name a track after me or something like a field. So I thought it was a park at first. But actually, learning it was a track that I literally started my career of track and field on, it was was literally a full circle moment.”

Her name is etched in Dallas history.

The Sha’Carri Richardson Track at John Kincaide Stadium is located near David W. Carter High School, where Richardson once competed as a Dallas ISD student-athlete beneath the name of the great Jesse Owens, whom the full track and field complex is named after.

The Jesse Owens Memorial Complex on Polk Street is named after James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens, who was a Team USA track athlete who won four gold medals (long jump, 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay) at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Owens became the first American track and field athlete to win four gold medals at a single Games. She said the gravity of this honor is not lost on her.  

Her journey to this point is not without disappointment.

After qualifying for Team USA at the Olympic Trials in 2021, Richardson tested positive for THC, the chemical that is in cannabis. Because of the positive test, she was disqualified for one month and lost her chance to compete at the Tokyo Olympics that year.

Her dream was cut short, but not forgotten.

Richardson took that time in her life in stride, now being able to call herself the fastest woman in the world.

“I’m not back, I’m better,” she famously said after the race and has continued to say since.

She credited her family with helping her build the strength to start again knowing that the chance at the Paris Olympics was just three years away from the disappointment in 2021.

“My mom has definitely been a pillar in my life to just be better,” Richardson said. “Understanding you may not come from ideal circumstances, but at the same time, it’s not where you start, it’s where you, it’s the direction you want to go. I wouldn’t have even started running track if it wasn’t for my mom.”

Through the trials and tribulations and the ups and downs, she said this moment is what she has dreamed of.

“I know this sounds very cliché, but all my hard work paid off,” Richardson said. “I just also [have been] an inspiration to my city. Actually seeing them and giving me that love. I know that the sky is the limit when it comes to what I can achieve.”

Richardson is headed to her first Olympics and will be sprinting toward gold in the 100m & 4x100m relay. 

If she wins she'll become the first American woman to win Olympic gold in the 100 meters in nearly 30 years since Gail Devers at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

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