World 100 metres champion Sha’Carri Richardson launches her quest for Olympic redemption on Friday as she aims to book her ticket to next month’s Paris Games three years after a positive marijuana test saw her kicked off the US team for Tokyo.
The outspoken 24-year-old from Texas will be one of the headline attractions when the star-studded US Olympic athletics trials get under way at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Friday.
For Richardson, who will open her campaign in Friday’s 100m heats, it marks the final countdown of a journey that she hopes ends in an Olympic gold at the Stade de France on August 3.
Three years ago, Richardson looked primed to make her mark on the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics after romping to victory at the US trials in a brisk 10.86sec.
But her dreams of Olympic gold were left in ruins after it emerged she had tested positive for marijuana, earning her a one-month suspension which ruled her out of Tokyo.
Hopes of reigniting her career at the 2022 World Championships also went up in smoke when she bombed out of the US trials.
But the diminutive track star roared back to form in 2023, storming to a superb 100m triumph at the World Championships in Budapest, where she outpaced Jamaican rivals Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in a championship record of 10.65sec.
Richardson attributes her renaissance over the past year to learning how to manage her emotions.
“I feel like where I am now, I’ve always been this person — it has just been locked in me,” she said last season.
So far this season, Richardson has competed sparingly. She has run only one 100m, a victory at May’s Prefontaine Classic, also held in Eugene, where she clocked 10.83sec.
“I’m excited, I’m eager going into the rest of this season, I’m growing, developing and just getting ready to make that USA team,” Richardson said after that win.
It will be a monumental upset if Richardson fails to punch her ticket to Paris in Saturday’s 100m final, which is one of the highlights of the opening weekend.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Richardson’s male counterpart, Noah Lyles, aims to make a similar impact in the men’s 100m.
Lyles, gold medallist in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at last year’s World Championships, opens his trials campaign with the 100m heats on Saturday, with the semi-finals and final on Sunday.
Lyles, like Richardson, is chasing Olympic redemption. In Tokyo, he failed to qualify for the 100m final and then had to settle for bronze in a 200m that he was tipped to win.
The outgoing 26-year-old revealed that he had been struggling with depression during the build-up to the Tokyo Games.
“The Noah leading up to Tokyo was depressed,” Lyles told NBC earlier this month. “This Noah is not — and that’s a dangerous Noah.”
Lyles is hoping to chase a fourth gold in Paris in the 4x400m relay, although it is not clear if he will be selected amongst that pool.
Other standout events at the trials will see women’s 400m hurdles world record holder and Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone aim to qualify for her third straight games at the age of just 24, while three-time 110m hurdles world champion Grant Holloway aims to confirm qualification in his bid to go one better than the silver earned in Tokyo.
Reigning women’s 800m Olympic champion Athing Mu will also be in action for the first time this year.
The gifted 22-year-old from New Jersey has not raced outdoors this season due to injury, but said Thursday she is ready to go in Friday’s opening 800m heats.

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