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Sha’Carri Richardson is poised to become the greatest U.S. women’s sprinter since Flo Jo

Get ready world, Sha’Carri Richardson has arrived.

2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials - Day 2 Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The last time a U.S. woman won a gold Olympic medal in the 100 meters was Gail Devers in 1996. Now, 25 years later, it’s time to learn a new named poised to take the sport by storm: Sha’Carri Richardson.

During Olympic trials this weekend Richardson blitzed the competition in 10.86, posting one of the Top 10 fastest times in history, and missing Florence Griffith Joyner’s world record by 0.24.

Richardson cemented herself as the fastest woman in U.S. sprinting history other than Flo Jo. A lofty comparison for sure, but one that Richardson has been preparing for her entire adult life.

A teenage phenom, Richardson began turning heads at the junior Olympics in 2016, when she won gold. She then followed up with a win at the U.S. Track and Field Championships, then the Pan-Am games, cementing herself as the top young sprinter in the country. Enrolling at LSU, Richardson once again dominating, winning the 100m crown in 2019.

Richardson’s performances and times while at LSU were comparable with the greatest in NCAA history, garnering comparisons to nine-time Olympic medalist Merlene Ottey.

Electing to leave LSU and turn pro, it remained to be seen whether Richardson was ready for the brightest stage — but she was. The power and speed Richardson can generate from her 5’1 frame is unmatched in U.S. women’s sprinting, and now after years of unrealistic hope, there’s a very real chance Sha’Carri Richardson could bring home gold in Tokyo.