By Greg Riddle
The Dallas Morning News
The world’s fastest woman, Dallas’ own Sha’Carri Richardson, stood on the track at John E. Kincaide Stadium on Friday morning and talked about how winning a world championship in the 100 meters has changed her life, but she still has big goals she wants to accomplish at the Paris Olympics in 2024.
This day was supposed to be about celebrating Richardson and the fact that the track she ran on while growing up was being named after her.
But as she gave interviews, it was clear that the moment was bigger than that. It was about the future of Dallas ISD students and how Richardson can inspire them to do great things.
Members of the track team from Carter High School — Richardson’s alma mater — stood behind their idol as she answered questions in front of a long line of television cameras, then did a TikTok dance with the world champion at the end.
The students filing into Ellis Davis Field House for the naming ceremony stopped in their tracks to wave and shout Richardson’s name when they saw her.
“I am really speechless,” Richardson said. “Life is full circle, and this is one of those full-circle moments, being able to stand in the stadium, in my hometown, where I basically started my career as a track athlete and my city showing me love and support. I love the city, and I’m excited to continue to inspire my city, because Dallas is the best.
“I hope this communicates not to just my community, but to the children, to the adults, that there is so much more. Never forget where you come from. You want to use it as motivation.”
Dallas ISD invited 1,600 to 2,000 students from across the district to see the woman who won eight state titles at Carter. The Carter band was there, as well as DISD superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde, who talked about Richard- son’s impact on the community and the students, as did Carter girls track coach Lauren Cross and DISD trustee Joyce Foreman.
“When you can see someone who looks like you accomplish the great things that Sha’Carri has been able to make us all feel so proud, then they get to say, ‘That can be me, too,’” Elizalde said. “It is someone who sat in the same classrooms and the same desks and had some of the same teachers and administrators, and it makes it very, very real.”
Carter sophomore track runner LaMya Jordan echoed those sentiments.
“It’s pretty inspiring, seeing someone who came from where I come from and doing things really big,” she said. “It makes me want to go out and do the same.”
It has been quite a comeback for Richardson, a gold-medal contender who couldn’t compete at the Tokyo Olympics following a positive test for marijuana in 2021 that led to a one-month suspension.
But in August, she had the defining moment of her career, setting a world championship record when she won the 100 in 10.65 seconds, tied for the fastest in the world for 2023. Richardson will be the favorite to win Olympic gold in Paris next year.
“My life has already been transformed, but that moment solidified that change,” said Richardson, who also ran on the United States’ gold-medal winning 4×100 relay at the world championships. “We’re not stopping at world champion, but it is a nice beginning.”
Richardson has been setting records since her days at Carter, when she broke the 4A state-meet record in the 100 as a junior and smashed the state-meet record in the 200 as a senior.
When Carter swept the boys and girls team state titles in 2018, Richardson and her teammates dedicated that season to Ledajrick “LD” Rajae Cox, the school’s homecoming king and prom king who was killed in a drive-by shooting just hours after his graduation the year before.
Greg Riddle, SportsDayHS writer and editor. I have worked at The Dallas Morning News since 2000. I cover high school sports as a reporter and help coordinate our coverage. I graduated from TCU, where I ran track and cross country. I previously worked at the Weatherford Democrat, Marshall News Messenger, Amarillo Globe- News and Arlington Morning News.
This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.