Sha’Carri Richardson wins Round 1 100m heat at U.S. Olympic Team Trials, advancing to semi-finals if…

Not even a stumble out of the blocks or a loosening shoelace could slow Sha’Carri Richardson down.

The reigning world champion took centre stage on Friday (21 June) at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – track & field in her premier event, shaking off a nervous start to clock a 10.88 to win her heat in the first round of the women’s 100m at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

“[I] definitely didn’t have the start that I have been training for this moment,” Richardson told NBC after her win, which moves her into the semis. “But still, not panicking, staying patient. And knowing that no matter what’s going on, to continue to run my race.”

Richardson thrust her arms out wide as she crossed the line first, then knelt down to attend to a minor detail: Her shoelace on her right shoe, which had come undone in the final 20 metres.

The women’s 100m semis and finals take place on Saturday (22 June), with the 24-year-old Richardson eyeing an Olympic debut at Paris 2024 next month.

It’s been a wild ride for the fan favourite Richardson, who won the national title here a year ago before claiming her first world title at Budapest 2023. All eyes were on her on Friday evening as the gun went off.

“I am enjoying the recognition of hard work,” she said. “[And] the support that comes with it. … It’s unbelievable. The world can see it; all the work that I’ve done on myself, for myself. And the world receives that. I’m appreciative.”

“I will always show up for my fans.”

Richardson ran in the fourth of four heats, and was one of four women to break the 11-second mark, though she was the fastest among them. Melissa Jefferson (10.91), McKenzie Long (10.94) and Aleia Hobbs (10.97) did so, as well.

Collegiate standout Jacious Sears withdrew from the event earlier on Friday. The Tennessee star had been the fastest woman in the world in the 100m so far in 2024, clocking a 10.77 in April. She hadn’t raced in some six weeks, however, her most recent effort a full second slower (11.73) than that world lead time.