Allyson Felix, the most decorated Olympic track athlete of all time, is imploring fans to support and embrace Sha’Carri Richardson in the aftermath of her loss in a recent televised race.
Richardson, 21, was subjected to abject embarrassment after finishing last of nine runners in the 100-meter dash in the ballyhooed Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. This came after Richardson insinuated she was going to smoke the Jamaican runners who had swept the medals in the Tokyo Olympics. Richardson had been disqualified from the Olympics after testing positive for marijuana following the death of her mother in June 2021.
The Prefontaine race was supposed to be the ultimate showdown between Richardson and the Jamaican Olympic runners, but it quickly became a shocking rout of Richardson.
Despite Richardson’s showing, Felix told “Jimmy Kimmel Live” guest host Stephen A. Smith that Richardson’s charisma and flamboyance, coupled with her obvious skills, are great for the sport.
“Obviously she has a great personality and she’s brought a lot of attention to the sport and I think she’ll be in the sport for a very long time,” Felix told Smith.
Smith, a host of ESPN’s ultra-popular sports talk show “First Take,” asked Felix to send Richardson a “message” after the onslaught of criticism rained down on her.
“I know that she’s obviously been through so much and I hope that she’s just supported,” Felix said. “I hope people rally around her. I think just more than anything, for all athletes, there’s so much that goes into it. Just give her the support that she needs.”
Meanwhile, Richardson is optimistic that she will rebound the way Felix hopes she does.
“Only way from 9th is up!” Richardon said on Twitter while adding praying hands emojis.