Sha’Carri Richardson appeared to have both her speed and swagger back for the US track and field championships but she had a disappointing result on Thursday night in her signature event.
Despite a few promising races heading into the national championships, Richardson failed to advance out of the first round of the 100m. She finished fifth in her heat and did not speak to reporters after the race.
She is also entered in the 200m at the meet, so her hopes of making the US team for the world championships next month are still alive albeit dimmer. She must finish in the top three to make the team for the sport’s biggest event outside of the Olympics.
Richardson garnered attention last summer when she won the 100m at the Olympic trials, which determined the team for Tokyo. But her title was stripped after she tested positive shortly after the race.
She was handed a 30-day suspension that kept her out of the event in Tokyo, and she was also left off the US team’s relay pool, although her suspension would have been completed by the time of the relay events.
She acknowledged the mistake in an interview with the Today show after her suspension. She said she used marijuana as a way of coping with her mother’s recent death. But on Twitter this week she lamented the interview: “I wish I never did this. I wish I had the choice when it was time for me to tell my story.”
This month at the inaugural NYC Grand Prix, Richardson won the 200m in 22.38 seconds, and came second in the 100m in 10.85sec, a season-best.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Tokyo silver medallist Fred Kerley produced a world-leading 9.83sec in the men’s 100m heats. World champion Christian Coleman, who returned to action in January after serving an 18-month suspension for breaching anti-doping rules, won his heat in 10.08sec while Trayvon Bromell clinched his in 10.10sec.
“I feel pretty decent. I feel like there’s definitely a lot I can still continue to build off of,” said Coleman “I feel pretty good for a prelim and so I’m pretty excited to try to put it all together tomorrow.”
Allyson Felix, the most decorated American athlete in the history of track and field, won her 400m heat in 52.30sec as the 36-year-old competes in her final US championships before retiring.
“It’s tough,” said Felix, 21 years to the day since she first competed at the championships. “I think more than physically just mentally, emotionally all of that – I think that’s been the biggest struggle. It’s bittersweet for sure. But also, I feel so ready. I don’t think I have anything left to give. And when I start to feel that I know it’s time.”