Yup, she’s still “that girl!”
Sha’Carri Richardson might give off a tough exterior on social media and in press interviews, but in her new digital cover story with Teen Vogue, the 21-year-old track and field sprinter showed off her vulnerability, opening up about the onslaught of criticism she faced following her disqualification from the Tokyo Olympics.
Back in July of 2021, Richardson was suspended from the competition after she tested positive for marijuana. The IOC delivered the devastating blow right after the Dallas native made history at the track and field Olympic Pre-Trials in late June, where she blazed through the 100-meter dash in 10.86 seconds. The record-breaking speed secured her spot on Team USA, but Richardson never had a chance to live up to her stardom following the incident.
“That entire situation taught me to look into myself and to see that I have to be grounded, because do you see how fast they flip?” Richardson, who became the sixth-fastest woman in history after the trials, told the publication.
The star athlete shared that it took her a while to come to terms with the decision but ultimately, she was able to forgive herself after some deep self-reconciliation and support from close family, fans, and friends.
“How I show myself forgiveness is honestly by acknowledging it first, acknowledging the situation for what it is, acknowledging my responsibilities in it, and talking about it to the people I feel like it impacted besides myself,” she explained.”When I had the entire situation of being banned from the Tokyo Games, the people who I talked to first were the people who I felt like were with me the most on the journey. I apologized to them first. I felt like they had to hold my shame as well, in a way — or my guilt, in a way. Acknowledging them made me feel like it was okay within myself…and [I] actually allowed myself to feel those emotions. That whole situation was a very big growing and touching experience for me and my community.”
Despite the outpour of backlash, Richardson continued to carry her head high and with confidence, even earlier this month, after she called out the IOC for racial discrimination. Richardson claimed that there was a double standard in the way that she was reprimanded after the committee allowed Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva the right to compete in the Beijing Games despite having a failed drug test.
Many social media goers stood in solidarity with the sprinter, noting how race was the only significant difference between Richardson and Valieva, although the IOC later argued that there was “nothing in common between these two cases.”
The young athlete shined in photos throughout the digital issue of Teen Vogue.
In one pic, Richardson posed for the camera sporting her signature blonde hair and a green and yellow skirt and top combo from Wales Bonner.
In another photo, Richardson showed off her brawny arms and sculpted legs in a khaki-colored ensemble by Sacai paired with bold statement sunglasses from designer Elisa Johnson, the daughter of Magic Johnson.
Elsewhere in the interview, Richardson shared her thoughts about race and misogyny and revealed how she plans to prove to the world that she is undoubtedly still “THAT GIRL!” on and off the track.
Check out a few more highlights from the interview below and read the full feature here.
On how she found her confidence from being a Black woman:
“I would say that’s where I got my confidence from. Just the fact of being in a community, being from South Dallas, that is predominately Black.”
On the double standard of being a Black woman:
“If you take away the ‘Black’ in front of the ‘woman’ and another woman reacts the same way, it’s not considered as ‘sassy,’…[or] ‘aggressive. One of the most powerful Black men said it, but the most disrespected person in the United States is [the] Black woman. Look, I’m going to stand in who I am at the end of the day. I’m not going to change that.”
On how she practices self-care:
“Honestly, like just a lot of self-awareness is going on right now with me, with myself and my hobbies or anything that makes me look at myself and how I’m impacting the world,” she says. She practices self-care by journaling, eating her favorite foods (pizza and fries are her “downfall”), and meditating.”