A defiant Sha’Carri Richardson vowed she was “here to stay” despite finishing in last place in a showdown on Saturday with the top sprinters in the world in her first race since missing the Tokyo Olympics due to a drug suspension.
Richardson, 21, gave a post-race interview on NBC Sports that went viral after she ran 11.14 seconds at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon to finish in ninth place in a race that featured the three Jamaican sprinters who all won medals at the Tokyo Olympics. Reigning world champion Elaine Thompson-Herah ran a blazing 10.54 seconds to win the race in the second-fastest time in history.
“I’m not upset with myself at all,” Richardson said. “This is one race. I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of. Count me out if you want to. Talk all the s--- you want because I’m here to stay. I’m not done.
“I’m the sixth-fastest woman in this game, ever, and can’t nobody ever take that away from me. Congratulations to the winners. Congratulations to the people that won, but they’re not done seeing me yet — period.”
The disappointing finish came in her first race since winning the 100-meter dash in 10.86 seconds on the same track at the U.S. Olympic trials in June.
Richardson did not compete in the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana. She told Savannah Guthrie in an exclusive interview on TODAY last month that she used marijuana after the sudden death of her biological mother days before the U.S. Olympic trials.
She spoke last week about her eagerness to return to the track following her one-month suspension.
“It was a moment of bitterness, but at the same time it was sweet because it just gives me more time, it gives me more to show the world that I’m here to stay,” Richardson told Tom Llamas on TODAY, one day before the Prefontaine Classic.
The anticipated showdown with Thompson-Herah, silver medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price and bronze medalist Shericka Jackson ended with the three pulling away to comfortably finish in the same order the finished in Tokyo. Richardson had also planned on running in the 200-meter race at the Prefontaine Classic but withdrew after finishing last in the 100-meter race.
Two days before the race, Richardson shared a TikTok video on Instagram of her debuting a new blonde hairstyle and lip-syncing to Nicki Minaj to let her competition know that she “took some time off to rest and now it’s game time.”
“August 21 and I’m not playing nice,” she wrote.
After another dominant performance by the Jamaican trio, Fraser-Pryce was seen with a smirk on her face in the background as she walked by Richardson during Richardson’s post-race interview.
“I wasn’t watching Sha’Carri to be honest,” she said at the press conference afterward.
“No comment on that,” Thompson-Herah said when asked about Richardson following the race
This story was originally published on Today.com.