‘I’m not back, I’m better’: Dallas’ Sha’Carri Richardson’s quest for redemption

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NBCDFW

Dallas’ Sha’Carri Richardson says “I’m not back, I’m better”

Hometown Hopeful Sha’Carri Richardson doesn’t hide behind the journey, she embraces it.

She claimed the title of fastest woman in the world at the World Athletic Championships in Budapest, Hungary in October 2023. Her meteoric rise is no surprise to the people back home who have been following her career since she excelled at Dallas ISD’s Carter High School.

“Dallas is a special place to me,” Richardson said. “Dallas means a lot to me because of the simple fact that it’s where I’m from. I started my journey thereof being not even just an athlete, but a child, a young woman.”

The 23-year-old said Dallas means many things to her, but culture, big city, family and where dreams come true come to mind.

A place that is giving back to her as well.

“I ended up finding out a track was going to be named after me after Budapest, after winning [the 100-meter race making her the fastest woman in the world]. My Godmother, who is actually my coach, who was my high school coach told me that they want to name a track after me or something like a field. So I thought it was a park at first. But actually, learning it was a tack that I literally started my career of track and field on, it was was literally a full circle moment,” Richardson said.

Her name is etched in Dallas history.

The Sha’Carri Richardson Track at John Kincaide Stadium is located near David W. Carter High School, where Richardson once competed as a Dallas ISD student-athlete alongside the great Jesse Owens, whom the full track and field complex is named after.

The Jesse Owens Memorial Complex on Polk Street is named after James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens who was a Team USA track athlete who won four gold medals (long jump, 100-meter, 200-meter and 4×100-meter relay) at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Owens became the first American track and field athlete to win four gold medals at a single Games. She said the gravity of this honor is not lost on her.

Her journey to this point is not without disappointment.

After qualifying for Team USA at the Olympic Trials in 2021, Richardson tested positive for THC, the chemical that is in cannabis. Because of the positive test, she was disqualified for one month and lost her chance to compete at the Tokyo Olympics that year.

Her dream was cut short, but not forgotten.

Richardson took that time in her life in stride, now being able to call herself the fastest woman in the world.

“I’m not back, I’m better,” she famously said after the race and has continued to say since.

She credits her family to helping her build the strength to start again knowing that the chance at the Paris Olympics was just three years away from the disappointment in 2021.

“My mom has definitely been a pillar in my life to just be better. Understanding you may not come from ideal circumstances, but at the same time, it’s not where you start, it’s where you, it’s the direction you want to go. I wouldn’t have even started running track if it wasn’t for my mom,” Richardson said.

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Through the trials and tribulations and the ups and downs, she said this moment is what she has dreamed of.

“I know this sounds very cliché, but all my hard work paid off. I just also [have been] an inspiration to my city. Actually seeing them and giving me that love. I know that the sky is the limit when it comes to what I can achieve,” Richardson said.

Richardson is currently training for the U.S. Olympics Trials June 21-30 in Eugene, Oregon.

If she makes the Olympic team, she will be well on her way to becoming the first American woman to win Olympic gold in the 100 meters in nearly 30 years since the late Florence Griffith-Joyner set it.

Read more about other North Texas Hometown Hopefuls in their journey to July.

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