*Editor's note: Richardson's drug test from the day of the final was positive for THC, a banned chemical found in marijuana; she was retroactively disqualified, removing her from the 100m team, and suspended for one month
Sha'Carri Richardson will continue her spectacular season in Tokyo after making her first Olympic team Saturday, winning the women's 100m in grand fashion at the U.S. Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
The 21-year-old really ignited the Hayward Field crowd earlier in the night during the semifinals when she clocked 10.64, pointing to the clock nearly 30 meters before finishing — it would've been a personal best and tied for fifth-fastest ever run at 100m by a woman had it been recorded under legal wind speed.
Nevertheless, Richardson less than two hours later marched on to win the final by more than a tenth of a second in 10.86.
What ensued after was incredibly touching. As soon as she caught her breath, this year's de facto U.S. champion went straight up into the stands where her family was gathered to watch her and embraced the special moment with her grandmother. All the hard work and what she'd gone through to get there had finally paid off, and her family evidently played a big role.
"She was always in my corner," Richardson said about her grandmother. "She is my heart. She is my super woman. Being able to cross the finish line and run up the steps felt amazing after becoming an Olympian.
"That moment for me, the reason why I did it, the passion that I have, the people in the stands, they're the reason I'm here. It felt amazing, it felt surreal. I can't wait to go see my family and let it all sink in."
Javianne Oliver and Teahna Daniels, finishing second and third respectively in 10.99 and 11.03, will join Richardson in Tokyo and both make their Olympic debuts as well. Richardson and Oliver are training partners,
The U.S. women last won Olympic gold in the 100m 25 years ago on home soil at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Gail Devers defended her title from Barcelona and extended a U.S. 100m gold streak to four straight Games.
A Dallas native, Richardson turned pro two years ago after a single season at LSU during which she broke the 100m collegiate record.
Asked Saturday what she would tell her tell 18-year-old self before heading to LSU: "I'd say, 'Get ready. You have a lot of unexpected surprises. You are a warrior, stay ready.'"
In April she ran 10.72 to become the sixth-fastest woman all-time at 100m. She said she began realizing the Olympics were attainable when first dipping into the 10-second range, but she remained patient.
"I would tell my younger self that it would all pay off when you least expect it," she said. 'Continue to be who you are."
Oliver, who hails from Monroe, Georgia, was the 2018 U.S. 60m champion; while Daniels, from Orlando, Florida, was the American 100m champion in 2019 and also a member of the bronze medal-winning 4x100m relay team at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where she ran the second leg in both the heats and final.
"I can’t even explain how I’m feeling," Daniels said after the final Saturday. "I’ve dreamt about this. I’ve written in my journals about this. To see it happen, it’s surreal. I never gave up on myself. I knew this was going to happen."
Jenna Prandini, Gabby Thomas, English Gardner and Aleia Hobbs finished fourth through seventh in the final, all missing Olympic team spots by the smallest of margins.
Hobbs was a late addition to the final after being disqualified during the semifinals for a false start. USATF said its jury of appeals based on information they had upheld an appeal filed by Hobbs, and so a decision was made to reinstate the 2018 U.S. 100m champion, open up lane nine and allow her to run.
During a post-race interview with NBC Sports' Lewis Johnson, Richardson revealed that just last week she lost her biological mother.
"I'm still here," she said. "Still choosing to pursue my dreams, still coming out here, still making sure to make the family that I still have on this Earth proud. And the fact that nobody knows what I go through. Everybody has struggles and I understand that but when y'all see me on this track and y'all see the poker face I put on, but nobody but [my family] and my coach know what I go through on a day-to-day basis, and I'm highly grateful for them — without them, there would be no me, without my grandmother, there would be no Sha'Carri Richardson. My family is my everything, my everything till the day I'm done."
Asked later about her biological mother, Richardson declined to go into details but said, "I want to thank her for bringing me into this world. I respect her and love her. I know she loves me."
If you've seen her race before, you know Richardson's vibrant hair color choices are often unmissable. She said Saturday's orange color served a purpose to stand out for visibility and that her girlfriend, who told her she needed to "look the best and be the best," picked out the color because it was loud and dangerous.
As for her plans in Tokyo, she said stay tuned.
"There will be some switching," she said. "I got tricks up my sleeve."