Track and field phenomenon Sha’Carri Richardson on Saturday qualified for the 2024 Olympics, three years after the star sprinter was disqualified from the U.S. team because of a positive drug test for THC metabolites. Richardson’s win in a qualifying event sets the stage for her to run in this year’s Summer Olympic Games, which kick off in Paris on July 26.

Richardson took the top spot in the 100-meter sprint at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon, winning the race with this year’s world-leading time of 10.71 seconds. After a sluggish start in the race, Richardson passed the other runners at the 60-meter mark and retained her lead to the finish line to secure her spot on the 2024 U.S. Olympic team.

“This time around, I feel as if it was more — definitely still confident, still my exciting, normal self, but more so the overwhelming feeling of joy,” Richardson said following the race.

Richardson’s training partners Melissa Jefferson and Twanisha “Tee Tee” Terry rounded out the top three finishers in Saturday’s 100-meter race, with Jefferson running a personal best time of 10.80 seconds and Terry taking third with a time of 10.98. All three sprinters qualified for the 2024 Olympics with their performances at the meet and the trio will head to Paris next month to compete for the U.S. team.

“It definitely confirmed the year we’ve been training for. We’ve been preparing for this moment, it’s a full circle moment,” Richardson said about the three teammates, USA Today reported. “We’re grateful and appreciative and I’m super excited to grow and build from this momentum that we’ve already established. It’s more than exciting to continue to go forward with my girls. We didn’t put the world on notice, the world already knew. …We knew this moment could be possible if we put our minds, body and spirit into it.”

Last Chance at Olympic Gold Thwarted By Positive Drug Test

Richardson was disqualified from the U.S. Olympic team for the 2020 Games, which were postponed to the following year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She had secured a spot on the team for the 100-meter event at the Olympic trials in 2021, but Richardson agreed to a 30-day suspension after testing positive for weed in a test taken at the qualifying meet. With the suspension running through the 100-meter Olympic race, Richardson was dropped from the team and denied the chance to race at the Tokyo Games.

“In the past three years, I’ve grown just a better understanding of myself,” she said in a post-race press conference, according to a report from The Athletic. “A deeper respect and appreciation for my gift that I have in the sport and as well as my responsibility to the people that believe in and support me. I feel like all of those components have helped me grow and will continue to help me grow into the young lady that I have been divined and by God (have) been blessed to be.”

“It manifests,” she added, “in having a deeper love and a deeper care for the talent I have been given. And I take advantage of it. Nurturing it. Taking care of my body. Take care of my mind as well as my spirit.”

Richardson heads to Paris at a time of peak career performance. She took a gold medal in the 2023 World Track and Field Championships and led against a strong slate of international competition at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon last month. With her win at the Olympic qualifying event on Saturday, Richardson is the early favorite to take gold in the 100-meter sprint at the Paris games next month.

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