Sha'Carri Richardson has banished her demons from the 2021 Olympics, winning 100m gold at the athletics world championships in Budapest. The American sprinter famously missed the Tokyo Olympics two years ago over marijuana use.
But on Monday she delivered on her enormous promise, flying home from lane nine to win the gold and denying Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce what would have been a record-equalling sixth world title. Richardson claimed the gold medal with a personal best of 10.65 seconds in a staggering turnaround after she failed to qualify for last year's world championships.
'DISAPPOINTING': Rohan Browning in brutal moment at world champs
Shericka Jackson took the silver medal in 10.72, with fellow Jamaican Fraser-Pryce third in 10.77. Richardson did it the hard way from the outside lane after missing the start in her semi-final and only just scraping into the gold-medal race.
The 23-year-old was in no mood to discuss her previous major misses after her victory. "I'm going to stay humble, I'm not back, I'm better and I'm going to continue to be better," she said.
"Never give up, never allow media or outsiders to define who you are. Always fight. This journey for me since I became a professional is, no matter what happens, you never lose sight of yourself. You'll have good days and bad days but you always have tomorrow."
Fraser-Pryce had the chance to equal the world championships record of Ukrainian great Sergey Bubka, who won six pole vault titles. Nevertheless, her 15th world championships medal - and first bronze - means she now has one more than legendary countryman Usain Bolt.
"Usain is in a category by himself. For me it's just about showing up and competing," said the 36-year-old Fraser-Pryce. "Given the circumstances of how I started the season - not bad.
"Being a champion is not all about winning. I'm grateful to have another medal to add to the tally. I won't be running the 200, I'll rest for the 4x100 relay."
Richardson is the first American woman to win the 100m world title since the late Tori Bowie saluted in 2017. The US squad had even more to celebrate after Grant Holloway claimed a third-successive world title in the 110m hurdles - matching the record of compatriot Greg Foster.
Olympic champion Hansle Parchment from Jamaica was second in 13.07. Elsehwhere, Hugues Fabrice Zango from Burkina Faso won triple jump gold with a best of 17.64 metres.
NO WAY!!! Sha'Carri Richardson!!!
Stuns the World. No fairytale ending for Jamaica. She can’t believe it!! What an incredible run. Out of nowhere.
— Her Sport (@HerSportDotIE) August 21, 2023
Incredible race by Sha'Carri Richardson at the Worlds 100. Holy crap. Wins world title out of lane 9???
First man or woman ever to win a world championship sprint as a small-q qualifier.
10.65 is #5 in world history, #3 in U.S. history.
— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) August 21, 2023
Sha'Carri Richardson beat the Jamaicans. Holy cow. 🏃♀️😤
— Sports News Politics (@LMNO789) August 21, 2023
Respect to Sha’Carri Richardson that’s insane mental strength to come back from the ridicule and character assassinations
— tayö (@tayoshi2) August 21, 2023
I’m ready for a Sha’Carri Richardson documentary…everything she went through and now she’s the fastest woman in the world. Insane comeback story 🤯
— Kara Egner (@karalong) August 21, 2023
Matt Denny finishes fourth in discus final despite record
Meanwhile, Aussie Discus powerhouse Matthew Denny again narrowly missing out on a major medal, despite breaking the decade-old national record. Denny looked set to claim a spot on the podium with his fourth-round effort of 68.24 metres - four centimetres better than Benn Harradine's Australian mark set back in 2013.
But he had to settle for fourth spot - the same position he finished in at the Tokyo Olympics. He was sixth at last year's world championships in Eugene, and couldn't hide his disappointment on Monday.
"I'm pretty sure it is one of the biggest non-medalling throws ever - it shows the depth of men's discus at the moment," the Aussie said. "I'm happy with the PB (personal best) but it's either keep up or get left behind and unfortunately today I got left behind.
"It's progression, moving forward the main thing is to win next year (at the Paris Olympics). I'm keeping up but just not gaining the positions and this will stir me for a long time."
Sweden's Daniel Stahl claimed the gold with a huge final-round effort of 71.46m - the second-biggest throw in the world this year - which relegated Slovenia's Kristjan Ceh (70.02m) to the silver medal. Lithuania's 20-year-old Mykolas Alekna, whose father won the world title twice, took bronze with 68.85m.
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