Until 9:50 p.m., a hot Budapest night, wetter than any night in August, Sha’Carri Richardson was quoted more in the gossip pages than in the sports pages, more famous for her venial scandals—a bit of marijuana, a row with a a flight attendant, a wig that flies, a gesture with the false nails of her hands— and for the viral videos that consecrated them for their athletic prowess, which were not few, for their speed and class, and even for their stay stuck in the heels in the semifinals and, despite this, run them in 10.84s, and by times go to the final of the 100m that from the ninth street, as if pushed by a hurricane that only adored her -and only He would condemn the others to 0.2 meters against according to the official anemometer–, he would consecrate her, 10.65s later, finally, in his first World Cup, as the new queen of speed. She the first born in the 21st century. “I’m here now. I am the champion,” she proclaimed. “I had already warned.”
Until then, speed had no queen, it had an empress, a Sisi of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, capital Budapest, a 32-year-old Jamaican mother named Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, who, when she appeared on stage, calm, domineering, holding back her laughter. Wearing a fiery wig, not ringlets, she received more acclaim than any of the other eight finalists. In her atomic body, speed concentrated in each of its fibers, there was already room for five world gold medals -the first, in 2009, when she was only 22 years old- and two more at the Olympic Games, and the first in Beijing, at 21 years. And with his muscles, a best mark of 10.60s, the third in history always dominated by the doubtful world record, 10.49s (1988), of the late Florence Griffith, as well known for her speed as for the sophistication of her long false nails, and their hairstyles.
In 10.65s, a championship record, the fifth best mark in history, the best in Budapest for now, and from the outside street, power changed hands. With his unstoppable, easy, controlled progression, and with perfect vision, all to his left, of what his rivals were doing, Richardson overtook the Jamaican couple, Shericka Jackson, second, 10.72s, down lane four, and Fraser -Pryce, bronze, 10.77s, the best mark of a season in which a knee injury has barely allowed her to compete, for five. And, stubborn and unique like no other, Richardson did not even need to throw himself on the line to win, but half a meter before, with his eyes on the giant screen, she already raised her arms feeling like a champion, and kept running. “My inspiration has always been Florence Griffith. I like this look because of her,” she said, and she pointed to her long, multicolored fake braid, her long nails, her style.
Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce brought the sacred fire of speed to Jamaica and only 15 years later – except for the interregnum, the 2017 World Cup, in which, absent due to her maternity, the American Torie Bowie, who died a few months ago, triumphed has regained the northern empire thanks to a 23-year-old athlete, eyes always wide open, as if tinged with admiration at the greatness of everything, born in Dallas, who two years ago, already being the most desired star for her speed –had run in 10.79s at the age of 19 at the university—and because of her rebellious pose as a bad girl for whom conventions are nothing more than an invitation to break them, to scandalize the bourgeoisie, as the surrealists said, she missed the Tokyo Games for test positive for cannabis in the trials of his country, in which he left everyone with their eyes open. And in 2022, in crisis, he failed to qualify for the World Cups in his country, those in Eugene (Oregon). “I have come here to stay,” said the Texan, who is trained by sprinter Dennis Mitchell. “No, I’m not back. I’m better. I no longer care what they say about me. The world has been my friend, then the world turned its back on me, but, at the end of the day, I have always been with myself, and God with me. My time has come.”
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