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Sha'Carri Richardson wins 100 meter gold

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

I'm not back - I'm better, Sha'Carri Richardson assured track and field fans when she won nationals this summer. And yesterday, she proved it, running the 100-meter dash in a mere 10.65 seconds, becoming the fastest woman at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The 23-year-old is the first American to win the world championship since 2017. And this win comes two years after Richardson gained fame at the U.S. Olympic trials, only to be left off the U.S. Olympics team in 2021 due to a failed drug test. For more on her comeback, let's turn to USA Today's Tyler Dragon, who covers track and field. Welcome.

TYLER DRAGON: Thanks for having me on. I'm excited to be on and to talk a little track and field today.

CHANG: All right. Well, I mean, Richardson says she is better than before. First of all, do you agree? Just how impressive was her performance at this event?

DRAGON: The proof is on the track. She ran a 10.65 to win the 100-meter title. It's a personal best and a championship record, so it was really the race of her life. She put it all together. She's known to have a slow start, but her start was decent. And then her drive and acceleration phases were superb, and that is the two phases that propelled her to the lead. And that's a big reason why that she is a world champion in the women's 100 meters. So now she can call herself the fastest woman in the world at that 10.65 mark.

CHANG: Whoo-hoo (ph). And what did she do to get so much better?

DRAGON: Well, you know, I really think it's a remarkable story about just battling through adversity, perseverance and just really happy end to everything that was ailing her back emotionally and physically. We all know what happened in 2021 when she failed that drug test. She had some things going on in her life that led up to that point. And so she really seeked some help. And then, from all that, you know, she really got better just physically and emotionally. And you can just see just how she conducts herself - the limited interviews that she does give - and then it all played out on the track, when all the bright lights were on, when the world was watching.

CHANG: Yeah.

DRAGON: For her to put it all together in that finals was just a testament of the hard work that she went through, and it really paid off.

CHANG: Ugh. I'm just getting goosebumps listening to all of this. I mean, OK, as a world champ now, what does that do for your career if you are in track and field? What does this mean for her?

DRAGON: Well, it's a larger payday for sure.

(LAUGHTER)

DRAGON: And then the hundred meters, that's track and field's marquee event.

CHANG: Yeah.

DRAGON: So if you're a hundred-meter world champion, hundred-meter Olympic champion, you get all the sponsors. You get all the praise (ph). You get more endorsement deals. You're seen on more commercials. So that's probably coming her way. And then not only that - the Olympics are one year away, and you can bet she will be certainly motivated to be an Olympic champion.

CHANG: (Laughter) Watch out. She is back. That is Tyler Dragon, who covers track and field for USA Today. Thank you so much, Tyler.

DRAGON: Thanks for having me on. Have a great day.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Gus Contreras
Justine Kenin
Justine Kenin is an editor on All Things Considered. She joined NPR in 1999 as an intern. Nothing makes her happier than getting a book in the right reader's hands – most especially her own.
Ailsa Chang
Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who hosts All Things Considered along with Ari Shapiro, Audie Cornish, and Mary Louise Kelly. She landed in public radio after practicing law for a few years.