World Champs Women’s 100 — Richardson’s Redemption

Once Sha’Carri Richardson rolled up to top speed in the final, she was unstoppable en route to a WC record. (GLADYS CHAI)

BOUNCING BACK is not Sha’Carri Richardson’s thing. Her phrase for the season is “I’m not back, I’m better.” Thus we’ll not say the U.S. champion bounced back from a subpar semi, which is inarguably what she ran in the penultimate round. Let’s just agree that in the final she ran better than ever to claim a WC Record, and PR, 10.65.

Richardson’s closing rush knocked yearly list leader Shericka Jackson and defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce — the winningest WC century woman with 5 titles —back to the silver and bronze positions with times of 10.72 and 10.77 against a minuscule -0.2 breeze.

Behind the Jamaicans, formchart favorite Marie-Josée Ta Lou followed in 4th (10.81, equal to the best-ever mark in that spot) just ahead of Texas-trained St. Lucian Julien Alfred (10.93), a newbie like Richardson to global title racing.

In the 9-woman final (bumped up from 8 in consideration of same-time-to-the-1000th semis finishes), Doha ’19’s 200 champion, Dina Asher-Smith, and silver medalist, Brittany Brown, shared the lower part of the order with finals novices.

The order there: Poland’s Ewa Swoboda (10.97), Brown (10.97), Asher-Smith (11.00) and American 20-year-old Tamari Davis (11.03).

But Richardson— smiling broadly and capering before the near-capacity crowd on a warm, humid evening — held center stage and an aura of vindication.

After an execrable start in her semi to place 3rd, she had threaded a needle to become the first “small q” qualifier ever to prevail as women’s 100 champion.

The previous day’s heats had gone off much closer to form — in fact, with all the sprinters on our formchart advancing. Heat wins went to Alfred (10.99), Brown (11.01), Swoboda and her pistol tattoo (10.98), Jackson (11.06), Richardson (10.92), Ta Lou (11.08).

And in the seventh heat Fraser-Pryce. Churning 11.01 with a stride pattern and smile that echoed vintage championships SAFP, she looked at 36 like a contender.

Same early the next evening when SAFP turned out a crisp and easy looking 10.89 in semi I from Davis (10.98) in the second auto-Q spot.

Semi II saw Jackson and Ta Lou motor 10.79 (tied to the 1000th) — as Richardson reacted sluggishly to the gun. Her reaction time of 0.222 was nothing to write home about and at 20m she sprinted in 6th at best before finding velocity mid-race and surging up to 3rd in 10.84, out of an auto-q position yet a speedy time.

The lay of the lanes for the final was thus Brown-Jackson-SAFP-Alfred-Ta Lou middle of track in 3–7. Swoboda & Asher-Smith were in 1 & 2, Davis & Richardson in 8 & 9.

Richardson, outside but with every intention of going all the way in, simply ran her own race. Jackson got out best among the middle pack, in front of Davis and Fraser-Pryce. Getaway adept Swoboda, too, accelerated impressively.

Richardson? Roughly last at 20m, what she did was dominate from there. Picture-perfect stride moving nowhere but down the track. Around 70m she jetted to even with the front crew led by Jackson and over the run-in she raced past.

Two strides out the about-to-be champion threw her arms wide in exultation and shouted — or appeared to anyway. No sound was overriding the roar of the crowd.

All smiles, moist eyes and joyful energy, Richardson reveled in her redemption.

“I would definitely say it’s a good start,” she told a press conference room full of media. “It’s the beginning of my dreams.… I pulled out the best in myself and I’m honored to leave with the gold medal.”

When the presser emcee quipped, “Now you can say, ‘I’m not back. I’m the best,’” she demurred: “No. I’m gonna stay humble. I’m not back, I’m better. And I’ll continue to be better.”

Said silver medalist Jackson, “I did a pretty good job tonight. I got silver and I cannot complain. One of my goals was to win the double. Unfortunately, I did not win the 100m but I have another shot at 200m. It is about going back to the track and refocusing for the 200m.”

After the first WC 100 she has contested without winning since a 4th in ’11, Fraser-Pryce reflected, “This has not been the best season but to be on start on the line, come away with the bronze medal in the end is a real joy. I had a late start this season because of a knee injury. Despite that I decided to come here.

“What still drives me is I know that I can do more. I just want to make sure that before I close my career I really gave everything I had. I still believe there is more to come, which excites me.”


FINAL (August 21; wind –0.2)

1. Sha’Carri Richardson (US) 10.65 PR (AL, =WL) (=5, =10 W; =3, =4 A) (adjusted for wind/altitude: 3, =4 W);

2. Shericka Jackson (Jam) 10.72;

3. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jam) 10.77;

4. Marie Josée Ta Lou (CI) 10.81;

5. Julien Alfred (StL) 10.93;

6. Ewa Swoboda (Pol) 10.97;

7. Brittany Brown (US) 10.97;

8. Dina Asher-Smith (GB) 11.00;

9. Tamari Davis (US) 11.03.

(best-ever mark-for-place: =4, 8–9)

(lanes: 1. Swoboda; 2. Asher-Smith; 3. Brown; 4. Jckson; 5. Fraser-Pryce; 6. Alfred; 7. Ta Lou; 8. Davis; 9. Richardson)

(reaction times: 0.142 Davis, 0.146 Asher-Smith, 0.147 Ta Lou, 0.151 Swoboda, 0.153 Fraser-Pryce & Alfred, 0.156 Richardson, 0.166 Jackson, 0.188 Brown)

HEATS (August 20)

I(0.0)–1. Alfred 10.99; 2. Daryll Neita (GB) 11.03; 3. Gina Bass (Gam) 11.10; 4. Géraldine Frey (Swi) 11.26; 5. Delphine Nkansa (Bel) 11.40; 6. Angela Tenorio (Ecu) 11.52; 7. Farzaneh Fasihi (Irn) 11.63; 8. Zarinae Sapong (NMI) 13.04.

II(-0.8)–1. Brown 11.01; 2. Asher-Smith 11.04; 3. Jael Bestue (Spa) 11.28; 4. Shanti Veronica Pereira (SGP) 11.33; 5. Halle Hazzard (Grn) 11.34; 6. Salomé Kora (Swi) 12.18; 7. Chloe David (Van) 12.88;… fs—Yunisleidy García (Cub).

III(-0.4)–1. Swoboda 10.98; 2. Davis 11.06; 3. N’ketia Seedo (Neth) 11.11 PR; 4. Rani Rosius (Bel) 11.18 PR; 5. Murielle Ahouré-Demps (CI) 11.29; 6. Leah Bertrand (Tri) 11.32; 7. Mudhawi Al-Shammari (Kuw) 11.93; 8. Silina Pha Aphay (Lao) 12.67.

IV(-1.0)–1. Jackson 11.06; 2. Michelle-Lee Ahye (Tri) 11.16; 3. Gina Lückenkemper (Ger) 11.21; 4. Rosemary Chukwuma (Ngr) 11.24; 5. Olivia Fotopoulou (Cyp) 11.38; 6. Vitoria Cristina Rosa (Bra) 11.57; 7. Natacha Ngoye (Con) 11.60; 8. Kesaia Boletakanakandavu (Fij) 12.46 PR.

V(0.4)–1. Richardson 10.92; 2. Natasha Morrison (Jam) 11.02; 3. Zaynab Dosso (Ita) 11.14 =NR; 4. Maboundou Koné (CI) 11.26; 5. Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (Pol) 11.32; 6. Torrie Lewis (Aus) 11.45; 7. Sydney Francisco (Pau) 13.48 PR;… fs—Imani Lansiquot (GB).

VI(0.9)–1. Ta Lou 11.08; 2. Shashalee Forbes (Jam) 11.12; 3. Boglárka Takács (Hun) 11.18; 4. Patrizia van der Weken (Lux) 11.38; 5. Bree Masters (Aus) 11.43; 6. Magdalena Stefanowicz (Pol) 11.43; 7. Arialis Martinez (Por) 11.47; 8. Jovita Arunia (Sol) 13.20.

VII(0.2)–1. Fraser-Pryce 11.01; 2. Mujinga Kambundji (Swi) 11.08; 3. Zoe Hobbs (NZ) 11.14; 4. Lorène Dorcas Bazolo (Por) 11.29; 5. Khamica Bingham (Can) 11.29; 6. Rebekka Haase (Ger) 11.43; 7. Arisa Kimishima (Jpn) 11.73; 8. Yara Ahmed Abuljadayel (Sau) 13.54 PR.

SEMIS (August 21)

I(-0.4)–1. Fraser-Pryce 10.89; 2. Davis 10.98; 3. Swoboda 11.01 (11.010); 4. Neita 11.03; 5. Lückenkemper 11.18; 5. Ahye 11.18; 7. Dosso 11.19; 8. Chukwuma 11.26.

II(-0.4)–1. tie, Jackson & Ta Lou 10.79 (10.787); 3. Richardson 10.84; 4. Hobbs 11.02; 5. Kambundji 11.04; 6. Forbes 11.12; 7. Bestue 11.25; 8. Takács 11.26.

III(-0.1)–1. Alfred 10.92; 2. Brown 10.97; 3. Asher-Smith 11.01 (11.010); 4. Morrison 11.03; 5. Seedo 11.17; 6. Bass 11.19; 7. Rosius 11.20; 8. Frey 11.28.