Sha’Carri Richardson Finishes Last in Return to Track

Sha’Carri Richardson despatched a message earlier than she returned to the monitor on Saturday.

“Aug. 21,” she wrote alongside a video she posted on Instagram this week, “and I’m not playing nice.”

The message was clear: Weeks after a optimistic drug check cost her Olympic dream, Richardson was, in the video and in actual life, prepared to run once more. On Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., although, her return to competitors on the Prefontaine Classic didn’t go as deliberate.

Facing a subject that included all three Olympic medalists in her marquee occasion, the 100-meter sprint, Richardson was crushed badly, ending final in a time of 11.14 seconds. That was greater than half a second behind the time of Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica, the Tokyo gold medalist.

Thompson-Herah’s countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce completed second, and Shericka Jackson got here in third, replicating the rostrum from the Tokyo Olympics. Richardson, operating in the Lane four spot reserved for the favourite, was out of rivalry after only some strides.

“This last month was a journey for me, but that’s no excuse, because at the end of the day I’m an athlete,” Richardson mentioned. “Today was a day, but it’s not every day. It’s not the end of the world. And like I say, if you count me out, jokes on you.”

In an interview even earlier than she left the monitor, Richardson, 21, had oozed confidence after what was a reasonably demoralizing efficiency.

“It was one race,” she said. “I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of.”

Thompson-Herah additionally gave a touch of her capabilities. Her profitable time was quicker than she ran in the Olympic ultimate, and solely 5 hundredths of a second off Florence Griffith Joyner’s 1988 world report of 10.49 seconds, a report that appears increasingly within reach for her.

Richardson’s return to competitors got here just a little greater than two months after she gained the 100 meters on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, a race that many thought could be the primary act in a summer time star flip. Richardson was an instantaneous sensation — her explosive pace matched her flowing orange hair and her abundance of swagger.

But she by no means acquired to run in Tokyo: Richardson subsequently examined optimistic for marijuana and was disqualified.

Richardson mentioned she used the drug to deal with the demise of her organic mom, which she had discovered of earlier in June. But the results have been extreme: The violation erased her win on the trials and eliminated her from qualification for the Tokyo Games. It additionally carried a 30-day suspension from competitors.

At the time, there was speculation that U.S.A. Track and Field, the governing physique for the game in the United States, would possibly strive to get her to the Olympics by together with her on the 4×100-meter relay group. That race was scheduled for close to the top of the Tokyo meet, after Richardson’s suspension would have been full.

But the foundations didn’t enable for a substitution given her disqualification, and Richardson’s agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, mentioned her group didn’t foyer U.S. monitor officers to discover a approach to embrace her.

“We never petitioned to be on the relay,” Nehemiah wrote in an e-mail in early July.

In an interview final month, Nehemiah mentioned that after the drug violation, Richardson wanted a break from the overheated highlight that her suspension had created. Her fame solely grew together with her absence from the Games.

Nehemiah mentioned he and Richardson determined virtually instantly to goal Saturday’s Prefontaine Classic for her subsequent competitors, which passed off on the identical monitor the place she had gained on the trials.

In an effort to widen her focus past the Tokyo Games, which she was going to miss, Richardson wrote a tweet about shifting her consideration to the main competitions in the course of the subsequent three years, which embrace world championships in 2022 and 2023 and the Paris Olympics in 2024.

The march towards these occasions started in earnest on Saturday. But her efficiency on the monitor didn’t match her speak off it.

“They’re not done seeing me yet,” Richardson mentioned of her opponents. “Period.”

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