Shar’Carri Richardson, Ryan Crouser have big nights at the Olympic Trials

EUGENE — Shar’Carri Richardson, having blown away the field in the Olympic Trials 100-meter final, continued to charge around the Hayward Field turn Saturday night as if she couldn’t get to Paris soon enough.

Finally she knelt to the track, brought to her knees by the enormity of the moment, and the weight of her journey.

“It’s a full circle moment,” Richardson said.

“It was a full-fledged surreal moment.”

Richardson’s 10.71 second victory came three years after the 24-year-old Texan won the 2021 Olympic Trials on this same track only to have her Olympic dream turn into a nightmare when she tested positive for marijuana in a post-race drug test resulting in a 30-day suspension that prevented her from competing in the Tokyo Games.

The doping ban would be the first in a series of controversies that followed through three years in which she emerged as the planet’s premier 100-meter sprinter.

“Everything I’ve been through is everything I have been through to be in this moment right now,” Richardson said. “So there’s nothing I’ve been through that hasn’t designed me to be there right now in this moment.”

She was joined in the moment by training partners Melissa Jefferson, who finished second Saturday in 10.80, and former USC standout Twanisha Terry, who was third in 10.89.The trio was asked if the sweep sent a message to the rest of the world?

“We knew that this was possible and we got the job done today,” Richardson said. “So we didn’t put the world on notice. The world, you know, already knew who we were.”

Neither is Ryan Crouser, the two-time Olympic champion and world record-holder in the shot put, unknown to the rest of the sport. Crouser nevertheless sent his competition a resounding message Sunday: he’s back. Crouser, his injured right elbow, covered with a wrap, won the shot put with a throw of 74-11 1/4. The Oregonian was so dominant that four of his five legal throws were longer than runner-up Joe Kovacs’ best, 73-7 1/4.

Richardson’s suspension was followed by a series of high profile social media skirmishes and an expletive laced interview on national television after finishing dead last in her first race after the doping ban was lifted.

She was born in Dallas and raised by her grandmother Betty Harp after she was abandoned as a young child by her biological mother who was struggling with addiction and mental health issues at the time.

Richardson also struggled with mental health issues in high school and at LSU, where she won the NCAA 100 title and set World Under-20 records at 100 and 200 meters. She turned pro after her freshman season, signing with Nike.

In April 2021, she ran 10.72 at a meet in Florida, history’s sixth-fastest time, shouting, “I am who I say I am!” as she crossed the finish line.

The race sparked widespread talk within the sport of Richardson not only being the first American woman to win the Olympic 100 title since 1996 but to threaten Florence Griffith-

Joyner’s world record, a mark generally believed to be the beneficiary of a faulting wind reading at the 1988 Olympic Trials.

But Richardson’s Olympic ambitions were derailed after a urine sample she provided during a post-race drug test following her Olympic Trials 100 victory last June 19 tested positive for cannabis.

Richardson admitted using marijuana after learning her biological mother had died that week.

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But Richardson has seemed more at peace with herself since winning the 100 at last summer’s World Championships.

“I have a deeper love and a deeper care for the talent I’ve been given” Richardson said. “I’m taking care of my mind, taking care of my spirit.”

“I will say from the past few years, I’ve grown to have a god understanding, a better understanding of myself. To have a deeper respect and appreciation as well as responsibility to the people that believe in me and are supporting me.”

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