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Sha'Carri Richardson stamps a comeback with a 100-meter world title

Sha'Carri Richardson, of the United States, spreads her arms as she crosses the line to win the women's 100-meter final during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Denes Erdos
/
AP
Sha'Carri Richardson, of the United States, spreads her arms as she crosses the line to win the women's 100-meter final during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Sha'Carri Richardson ran past a heat of the fastest sprinters in the world Monday to win the women's 100 meter at the World Athletics Championship in Budapest.

She ran from behind and past Jamaicans Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the defending world champion, to win with a time of 10.65 seconds.

Richardson's run – from the disadvantageous outside lane – catapults her back into the elite ranks of women's track and marks a major comeback after two years of disappointment.

"I would say never give up," Richardson said after Monday's race. "Never allow media, never allow outsiders, never allow anything but yourself and your fate to define who you are. I would say always fight. No matter what. Fight."

Richardson was poised to contend in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, but after testing positive for marijuana, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency suspended her from competition for a month, which prevented her from competing in the games.

Her suspension set off a debate over the fairness and equal application of anti-doping tests, a debate Richardson herself joined, after initially and immediately accepting her suspension. At the time, President Joe Biden said of her suspension, "The rules are the rules, and everybody knows what the rules were going in, whether they should remain the rule is a different issue."

Richardson said she took marijuana in Oregon, where it is legal, after learning of the death of her mother. The ban marked the start of two years in the track and field wilderness.

She finished last in the 100 meters in her return after the suspension at the 2021 Prefontaine Classic. Then she failed to make last year's worlds team.

But 2023 marked a new lap. In May, at the LA Grand Prix she said she "went through a tough time," in track and field, and that in the previous years "It just was me that was standing in my way."

There was little standing in her way in Monday's finals.

The two Jamaicans were running from the middle and ran out of the blocks to an early lead. Richardson trailed until the final meters of the race and pulled far enough ahead to cross the line with outstretched arms.

On Monday, she repeated a message she said she's been saying all year.

"I'm not back. I'm better."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Peter Granitz

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