Sha’Carri Richardson, 21, made headlines after she was declared the fastest American sprinter in the world when she dominated the 100-meter race on Saturday, just days after her biological mother passed away. The win secured Richardson’s spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

Richardson is from Dallas, Texas, and began her track journey at David W. Carter High School. Lauren Cross, Richardson’s former high school coach, recalled how driven she always was. “I didn’t have to constantly stay on her or badger her to do this [or] do that, because she knew when it was time to come on the track, [it] was practice, work, hard, and win,’’ Cross remembered.

Her legacy at the school is represented through almost half of a trophy case with awards. Popular awards that she’s received are the State Champion Girls 400 Meter Relay Conference AAAA 2016 and 2017. Sha’Carri has inspired other athletes at her high school to believe that anything is possible. A current track runner at the school imagined to herself,  “When I was watching [Sha’Carri], I was like, ‘oh yeah, that can be me in the hurdles, you know that I can break records, you know that I can break records in the long jump, it can be the next me.”

She also briefly attended Louisiana State University, where she won the 2019 NLAA title with a college record of 10.75. Yet, her passion for track inspired Richardson to leave LSU to pursue running full-time.

Sha’Carri is committed to her sport, despite challenging situations. A week before her win, Sha’Carri informed reporters that her biological mother passed away, however that did not stop her.

“Going from last week, [to] losing my biological mother, I’m still here. finding out my biological mother passed away, and still choosing to pursue my dreams [and] still coming out here, and still trying to make the family I still have on this earth proud.”

The love and support of her relatives are what keeps Richardson motivated to keep going in her career. “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. I’m highly grateful of them. Without them, there would be no me, without my grandmother, there would be no Sha’Carri Richardson.”

Sha’Carri has become a popular social figure, gaining over 1 million Instagram followers, and even setting new trends, showcasing a new hair color for each race she performs. Her colorful hair is a representation of her mood.

“The color is based on how I want to feel. Like the red puts me in a very dominating mood. And sometimes I feel that it can be overwhelming, so when I need to calm down I have black hair. The black calms me and makes me blend in instead of being extra.”

To people who look to Richardson, this is what she wants them to know: “I just want the world to know that I’m that girl and that every time I step on the track, I’m going to try to do what it is that me, my coach, [and] my support team believes I can do, and the talent God blessed me to have. Every time I step on the track, I’m never going to take an opportunity to perform in vain.”

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