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Sha'Carri Richardson is already the star of the Olympics — here's why

If you don't know the track and field star yet, you will.
Sha'Carri Richardson
Sha'Carri Richardson celebrates winning the women's 100-meter final on day two of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 19, 2021, in Eugene, Oregon.Patrick Smith / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Meet the woman who very well may be the next Olympic sensation.

Sha'Carri Richardson qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and earned a spot on the U.S. team last Saturday, winning the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, with a time of 10.86 seconds.

Sha'Carri Richardson
Richardson may be a star in the making.Getty Images

“I just want the world to know that I’m that girl that every time I step on the track, I’m going to try to do what it is that me, my coach, my support team believe I can do and the talent that God blessed me to have to do every time I step on the track,” she told NBC Sports after the race.

With her long, bright orange hair, nose rings, colorful nails and tattoos, Richardson, 21, stands out for more than just her abilities on the track. She also endured personal hardship in the face of athletic glory.

After the race, she ran into the stands to hug her grandmother and later told NBC Sports that her biological mother recently died.

Sha'Carri Richardson
Richardson celebrates clinching her spot on the Olympic squad with grandmother Betty Harp.Steph Chambers / Getty Images

“My family has kept me grounded. This year has been crazy for me, going from just last week losing my biological mother, and I’m still here,” she said.

“Last week, finding out my biological mother passed away and still choosing to pursue my dreams, still coming out here, still making sure to make the family that I do still have on this Earth proud, and the fact that nobody knows what I go through.

Sha'Carri Richardson
Richardson was very open about how difficult it was finding out her biological mother had died a week before she ran in the 100-meter final.Patrick Smith / Getty Images

“Everybody has struggles, and I understand that, but you all see me on this track and you all see the poker face I put on, but nobody but them 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. So my family is my everything. My everything is for the day I’m done.”

Richardson certainly basked in the glow of her win and what it meant.

“Unbelievable!” she said. “The fact that I am an Olympian, no matter what is said or anything, I am an Olympian, a dream since I’ve been young — I’m pretty sure everybody’s dream as a track athlete — so being happy is an understatement.”

Richardson caught people’s attention with her electric orange hair as much as her speed. She said her girlfriend chose the color to stand out and be “loud and encouraging and dangerous,” according to NBC Sports.

Will the hair remain orange as she continues the quest for gold?

“I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve for my hair, so stay tuned,” she said.