American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson has received praise from Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States.
Richardson booked her place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this weekend, winning the 100 metres at the US Olympic trials in 10.86 seconds.
In an emotional interview after her race, Richardson revealed her biological mother had recently passed away. She also praised the rest of her family for their support and encouragement.
"Without them, there would be no me,” she told NBC. "Without my grandmother, there would be no Sha'carri Richardson. So my family is my everything. My everything until the day I'm done."
Obama shared a clip of the interview on Twitter, praising Richardson for her “grace and grit”.
“If you haven’t seen it yet, Sha’Carri Richardson’s race at the Olympic Trials is something to behold—but her grace and grit in this interview might be even more special,” Obama posted. “We are all so proud of you, Sha’Carri! Can't wait to see what you do in Tokyo!”
Michelle Obama, married to former US President Barack Obama, served as the country’s First Lady from 2009 to 2017. During her time in the role she worked as an advocate for a number of issues, including poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating.
She is the latest in a long line of athletics fans to take notice of Richardson, who has put herself in contention for an Olympic gold medal this summer. The 21-year-old only turned professional in 2019, but has since set the world of sprinting alight.
Richardson ran a personal best of 10.72 in April, making her the sixth fastest woman in history. Compatriot Florence Griffith-Joyner holds the world record of 10.49, set in 1988.
Richardson has downplayed hopes she can break Griffith-Joyner’s record, saying: “I just want to develop and progress. I am not going to put that expectation on myself and disappoint myself.”
The women’s 100m race at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be stacked with talent. Richardson will likely line up against Jamaica’s three-time world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah. Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith will also be in contention, having beaten Richardson and Fraser-Pryce in a Diamond League race last month.