Three years after qualifying for her first Summer Games, Sha’Carri Richardson will finally have the chance to bring home Olympic gold: The track star is set to head to Paris to represent Team USA.

On June 22, Richardson finished first in the 100 meters at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, with a blistering time of 10.71—quick enough to make her the fastest woman in the world in 2024. She dominated in both rounds leading up to the finals, winning first in her heat on June 21 in 10.88 and then again in the semi-finals in 10.86 just two hours before the final. All that despite a few early snags: Richardson stumbled off the block and her shoe came untied during the end of Friday’s race, and she was wobbly out of the gate during the semis too.

“[I] definitely didn’t have the start that I have been training for this moment,” Richardson told NBC on Friday. Still, she said, she stayed patient, didn’t panic, and focused on continuing to run her race.

It paid off the next day when she won the finals—a repeat of the 2020 Olympic Trials. But even though she initially made the team for Tokyo, which was set to be Richardson’s Olympic debut, she didn’t compete: She was barred from the Games after testing positive for THC. The then-21-year-old told reporters she used the drug (which was legal in Oregon, where the Trials were held) to cope with the death of her biological mother, but that she knew the rules and wasn’t looking to make an excuse. Richardson tweeted to her fans a promise to become the World Champ the next year; she did earn the title, but just one year later, in 2023—served her suspension, and kept putting in the work on the track.

After she won the 100 meters at Hayward Field, Richardson took a short jog on the track, then fell to a knee, taking a few seconds of quiet to ground herself. Then she embraced her Nike teammates Melissa Jefferson and Twanisha Terry—the second- and third-place finishers—who will join her in Paris. Richardson described the finish as “a full circle moment,” to NBC, and shared with the media afterward how it felt a little different than her previous wins.

“This time around, definitely still confident, still my exciting, normal self, but more so it was the emotions of just joy,” Richardson said in the press conference. “I know the hard work that I’ve put in, not just physically on the track, but as well as mentally and emotionally to grow into the mature young lady that I am today and that I’m going to continue to grow into. It was a full-fledged surreal moment for me to actually embrace and be able to show to the world and on the track today.”

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

While the Summer Games are just weeks away, the Trials aren’t quite over yet for Richardson: She’s slated to run the 200 meters on Thursday, June 27, and possibly the 4×100 relay as well, according to USA Today. Then—finally, for Richardson—it’s Olympics time.

“I feel honored; I feel everything, every chapter I’ve been through in my life has been designed to prepare me for this moment,” Richardson told NBC after her 100-meter victory. “I cannot wait to go to Paris and represent.”

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