Sha'Carri Richardson hit headlines earlier this year when she was banned from the Tokyo Olympic Games following testing positive for marijuana use - in spite of the fact marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug, and it was legal in the state she used it in. People were understandably angry at the decision, with many believing it had more to do with Richardson's race than any concerns of the Olympic committee over her drug test.
But TMZ has announced this week that Richardson is getting a second chance to prove her athletic prowess. She's been confirmed as a participant in the upcoming Prefontaine Classic at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. Richardson will be one of 9 female sprinters competing in the 100-meter race - but, even more excitingly, she'll finally get to face off against the Jamaican Olympics winners, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson. These three sprinters took home the three medals in the Tokyo Games.
This will be Richardson's first professional race since her suspension from the Olympic Games. Interestingly, Richardson beat out Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson during her tryouts, leading many to think she was the favorite before her suspension. However, Thompson-Herah actually beat Richardson's trial time of 10.64 seconds in the official 100 meters with an incredible speed of 10.61 seconds during the actual race.
This makes the upcoming Prefontaine Classic very interesting indeed as it gives Richardson a chance to race against her biggest competition once more.
Her rep told TMZ: "Sha'Carri is focused on running a good race since she last competed at the US Olympic Trials [...] She will be focused on executing her race to the best of her ability regardless of who is in the race."
Many are excited to finally get to see Richardson have a chance to race against the best in the world. "Regardless of her smoking weed I still wanna see her race," wrote on Facebook fan. "They're giving her a chance. Respect and big ups to all 4 women," another agreed. A third added: "This is going to be a mega event. Millions are going to tune in. Companies will be in a bidding war over this."
However, others are more concerned about Richardson's potential performance. "Jamaicans take their training and lifestyle very seriously. They are much more focused on what I'd important. Sha'carri is fast but she is not mature enough to handle this challenge," wrote one skeptic. Another warned: "I hope she's been training instead of smoking cause the Jamaican team ain't no joke." A third predicted: "I see her coming 5th ... The only glory she will probably get is a PB ... We Jamaicans love to bring out the best in people."
Do you have any predictions? Will you be tuning in to the historic race?