Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Those words may have best summed up Sha’Carri Richardson’s reported attitude toward the mainstream media after the track star won her first world title on Monday.
Richardson was in Hungary for the World Athletic Championships where she won a gold medal in spectacular fashion in the women’s 100-meter final in record time for the event. She raced past her opponents for a World Athletic Championships best time of 10.65 seconds.
But it wasn’t so much that she won but more so how she won and then how she reportedly handled that win afterward.
Richardson is shown toward the end of the sprint waving her hand toward the crowd in acknowledgment that she was about to win.
Afterward, while media likely clamored to score an exclusive interview, a video posted to social media claimed to show Richardson only speaking with a Black reporter before walking past a group of other members of the media and simply telling them, “No, thank you.”
In what seemed like a coordinated effort, dozens and dozens of social media accounts posted the same video accompanied by the following message:
Sha’Carri didn’t stop to talk to ANY of the media, saying, “No, thank you!” She ONLY stopped to talk to these black journalists!
The below post has been shared tens of thousands of times, but plenty of other posts bore the same video and message.
A Jamaican media outlet later posted the interview shown in the viral video.
Later, it appeared Richardson did speak with mainstream media as the Associated Press reported that she said after the race that she was inspired by her opponents.
“All the heavy hitters were going to bring their ‘A’ game, so it helped me pull out my best ‘A’ game, as well,” Richardson said. “I’m next to living legends. It feels remarkable.”
She later added: “You bring who you are onto the track. You bring your athlete into your life. Just knowing that people know me not just as an athlete, but as a person. There is no separate, honestly.”
The victory was a long time coming, a couple of years after she wasn’t allowed to compete in the Olympic Games after failing a drug test for marijuana use.
Richardson had been working toward Monday’s win for a while now, including in May when she won the title in Qatar by running her then-fastest time of the year with a 10.76 100-meter race.
At the time, Richardson explained that she had “found my peace back on the track, and I’m not letting anything or anybody take that anymore.”
Richardson had been expected to make headlines at the Tokyo Summer Olympics two years ago after qualifying for the 100m. However, shortly before the Olympics were set to begin, she was disqualified from competing in the worldwide event after testing positive for marijuana and accepted a one-month suspension. Richardson said she used marijuana after her mother died. Soon after, she completed a counseling program and did not compete in Tokyo.
But the failed drug test took her from media darling to villain, replete with negative headlines that Richardson and her team have apparently not forgotten.
“A year ago, she was in no-man’s land, as far as not making the team,” Richardson’s agent said following her win on Monday. “And then, to come back and finally find her happy place, which is on the track, and to not try to compete with any kind of negative influences out there. I personally told her, ‘You’ll never win that battle on your best day.’”
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