Sha’Carri Richardson

She’s America’s top female sprinter.

Photo by Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Below is the video of her qualifying for the #1 spot on the USA 100 meter team. The thing about her is, she has an amazing ability to unleash her top end speed. Check the video of Sha’Carri’s qualification run, and I think you’ll be thrilled as her top-end is released. It is particularly amazing when you consider that she is only 5’1″ tall. In sprints, physical height, especially long legs, has proven to be decisive for many top sprinters in the late stage of a race. For example: the top sprinter of all time was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt (6’5″ tall). And among women Olympians, Florence “Flo-Jo” Joiner was 5’7″. And top female sprinters do not “run like girls”, just saying. Simply said: Her ability is awesome to watch.

I’m deeply saddened that this magnificent young athlete made an impulsive mistake. She has been suspended 30 days and that will cost her a chance to compete in the USA Olympic Team’s 100 meter dash. I doubt that the US Olympic Committee can make an allowance for her, because of the precedent it would set, but her suspension expires before the 4×100 sprint relays and I’m praying for to be part of that team.

Sha’Carri is a great talent and has a lovely spirit, and she would represent our country proudly.

I ran sprints in high school, but never had Sha’Carri’s talent. Nonetheless, I did come to understand that 100 sprints have at least two stages: the start (first 30 to 50), where you run as fast with all your strength; the later stage (50-100), where the best sprinters transition up to their top end speed. Many sprinters that are good in the start get overrun by other sprinters in the second stage because they can’t make this subtle transition. And the best sprinters do something that very few sprinters understand, they relax and let their bodies loose; it is an almost transcendental experience. And very few coaches know enough about this to really coach it.

In the above video, you’ll hear the commentator refer to Sha’Carri’s ability to relax, and how it is unusual for a 21 year old. But the relaxation is a real thing and I’ve rarely heard track coaches mention it (but my experience was a long time ago); although once, I heard one coach refer to a male sprinter, saying: Watch him coast. That’s was the coaches observation, and it was a poor description of what happens. I discovered the power of relaxation by watching a world champion sprinter at a track meet at the University of Miami. My mind translated what I saw in the context of my Zen studies, and a old saying about horseback riding: “Give the horse its head.” I came away with a theory that I must transition from my fast start and release my body’s strength naturally. The very next day I tried the technique and my 100 speed showed an immediate improvement: 0.3 better than my personal best (0.3 in the 100 is a lot).

It’s easy to identify people who don’t understand relaxation, regardless of their speed: They seem tightly wound up through the entire race. But the people who can relax are equally easy to recognize; remember how easily Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt cruised to his victories? The guy was egotistical to an obnoxious degree, and in the China Olympics his behavior offended the Chinese people. But he clearly was a master of relaxation. Being short is a big disadvantage for Sha’Carri but her incredible top end speed is a gift from God.

Praying for you, Sha’Carri.

About Yordie

I'm an avatar from Second Life, a gamer on Xbox, and the author of The Temporal Expeditions sci-fi novel series.
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