Sha'Carri Richardson Graces "Vogue": Paris 2024 Olympics, Beyoncé, & Never Giving Up

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Day 3 - World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - AUGUST 21: Sha'Carri Richardson of Team United States celebrates winning the Women's 100m Final during day three of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 at National Athletics Centre on August 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Sha'Carri Richardson graces the cover of "Vogue," chatting about her journey, the strength of her Big Momma who raised her, & aspirations for the Paris Olympics 2024.

“I’m not back, I’m better," Sha'Carri Richardson said about her evolution over the past few years. If you remember, it was in 2021 when Richardson became a global, household name following her pre-Tokyo Olympics scandal. The now-24-year-old was a frontrunner—no pun intended—for the U.S. Track and field team; however, her dreams of taking home the Olympic Gold were deferred after she tested positive for THC. Although her talents were undeniable, the Olympic committee decided to suspend her for one month, taking away Richardson's opportunity to face off against worldwide competitors.

It was later revealed that the track star had recently lost her biological mother, so she used marijuana during her grief. Regardless of the tragedy, the controversy became a talking point worldwide, leaving Richardson to be scrutinized, often unfairly, by millions. Her supporters have continued to rally around her over these years as Richardson has continued to push forward toward her next goal. Now, she'll compete in the 100m at the Paris Olympics 2024.

Read More: Sha'Carri Richardson Sends A Message To Her Haters

“I don’t just mean I’m a better runner,” Richardson revealed to Vogue. “It’s beyond that. I’m better at being Sha’Carri. I’m better at being myself.”

With her eyes on the prize, those who knew Richardson prior to her days in the spotlight recall her potential as a young girl. Lauren Cross, Carter High School's girl's track coach, remembered people questioning how Sha'Carri was so fast on the field. "To be that good, that young, you realize as a coach that you’re dealing with someone exceptional,” Cross said. “A lot of times you have kids who have the speed, but not the drive to do the work it takes to be great. Sha’Carri was totally determined."

Check out a few highlights from Sha'Carri Richardson's Vogue feature, including her thoughts on Beyoncé, running through the pain, and making sure she enjoys the spotlight with her family by her side.

On Having Self Discipline

"Every time you step on the track, it’s a validation of the time you’ve put in, the sacrifices you make on the daily. When I get on the blocks, it’s about getting the job done. I know there’s joy at the other end, at the finish line. But I also know I’ve got to earn that happiness."

"No matter what. Most people, they only think of track every four years. The Olympics, that’s all there is—those few seconds on TV. But for me, track is my life on a day-to-day basis. Everything I do—what I eat, what I drink, if I stay up too late—it’s all reflected on the track. Every choice. That’s what the world doesn’t see.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: Track and field athlete Sha'Carri Richardson poses during the Team USA Paris 2024 Olympic Portrait Shoot at NBC Universal Studios Stage 16 on November 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

On Her Love For Beyoncé

"Do I like Beyoncé? Of course I like Beyoncé. And Cowboy Carter, I mean, I went to Carter High School, in Dallas, we were the Carter Cowboys, so it’s full circle, Beyoncé, she’s a Texas girl like me….”

On "Big Momma" Betty Harp, The Grandmother Who Raised Sha'Carri

Betty Harp: “Sha’Carri’s tough; I made her tough. I’m a strong woman, I’ve overcome obstacles in my life. So I knew what I was talking about when, from time to time, things got hard and she’d want to quit—and I’d say, ‘Don’t start nothing and don’t finish it. You start, you finish,'... Whatever happens, you keep going, you hear?”

Sha'Carri: “Everything I am, it’s because of that strong, wise Black woman. Everything. I mean, I’ve been blessed, because I’ve had other people in my life who have helped me along. But the foundation, that’s her.”

EUGENE, OREGON - JUNE 19: Sha'Carri Richardson celebrates winning the Women's 100 Meter final with grandmother Betty Harp on day 2 of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 19, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

On Her Family Being With Her During Her Vogue Photoshoot

And occasionally, there’s the all-out exuberance of days like her Vogue shoot, an experience especially treasured, Richardson says, because she got to share it with her family. “Looking over and seeing the smiles on their faces, knowing we’re creating a memory together…that’s validation for me,” she says. It’s through the eyes of her adored younger cousins that she takes the measure of her own success. “Like, they can see, okay, we come from a certain place, but applying yourself, believing in yourself, staying grounded in yourself, it will take you so far.”

On Preparing For The Paris Olympics 2024

“It’s like chess. Every move you make is leading to checkmate. So the Olympics, okay, that’s checkmate, that’s the moment an athlete dreams about. But every race I have leading up to that matters too—that’s my opportunity to grow, so by the time I’m on the track in Paris, I know I’ve done my trial and error.” ... "[I have to stay present] Because if all I’m doing is looking ahead, then I can’t be where I need to be. Which is here, now.”

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About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.
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