Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt has advised up and coming USA sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson to focus less on talking and more on training to get better performances on the track.

Bolt has admitted to being a fan of the energy and sassy attitude of the American sprinter, which he believes is good for the sport.  Richardson has in recent times, however, failed to turn that energy into strong performances on the track.

There was plenty of enthusiasm surrounding Richardson earlier this year, following several impressive performances in the months of April and May.  Among them was a 10.72 clocking in Florida, which was at the time the fastest for the season.

Heading into the Olympics, the American cast herself as the one that could bring an end to over a decade of Jamaican dominance of athletics.  Heading into the Games, however, Richardson tested positive for marijuana, was suspended for a month, and missed the event where Jamaica swept all the podium spots in the 100m.

After that, came a much-publicised Diamond League meeting between the American and the Jamaican Olympic medallist, in Eugene, Oregon, which was framed along the lines of being an opportunity for Richardson to show what would have happened had she not been suspended for the Olympics.  Things did not go to plan, however, as she finished in 9th place, with the Jamaicans once again sweeping the top three spots. 

She followed that up with a second-place finish in Italy, and a fourth-place finish, in the 200m, at the Diamond League meet in Brussels.  Off the track, the sprinter was also criticised for what many believed amounted to disrespect for American sprint legend Allyson Felix.  Bolt believes, at this point, the young American needs to refocus.

“I would tell Sha’Carri to train harder and to be focused and not say too much…,” Bolt said in a recent interview with the New York Post.

“If you talk that big talk you have to back it up,” he added.

“So just train hard and focus on that and try to come back, do it and then talk about it.”

Richardson’s performances have split a vocal global track and field fanbase.  Her most ardent fans have continued to express support for the struggling sprinter, but others have expressed disappointment at both her performances and recent outbursts.  Many, particularly supporters of Jamaican track and field, found the American’s massive failure amusing given her pre-race antics, exuberant expression, and what they believe is disregard for their decorated Olympic medallists.

“Jamaicans were vexed because she was talking a lot of s–t before the actual race, it is just one of those things,” Bolt said of Richardson’s lopsided loss in Eugene, where Olympic champion Elaine Thompson clocked 10.54, the second-fastest time ever run over the distance.

 “Jamaicans don’t like when people talk s–t about us because we are a very proud people. So, if you talk about us we are gonna want you to back it up. It definitely gave those women the extra push.”

 

 

Decorated Jamaica sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce insists there are no ill feelings towards talented young American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, despite plenty of talk surrounding the athletes in recent weeks.

In truth, the majority of the arguments have come from feuding sides of the Jamaica vs the United States track and field rivalry, which has amplified in recent months since the American burst onto the scene.

The flamboyant Richardson has certainly played her part in fueling debates in recent months, even if her performances have not quite lived up to expectations, the number of eyes on track and field certainly seems to have increased.

The American was initially expected to face a high-powered Jamaica trio of Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson at the Olympic Games, but ended up missing the top-billed event after picking up a one-month suspension for using marijuana.  At the event, Thompson-Herah broke the longstanding Olympic record with Fraser-Pryce second and Jackson third.

There was for Richardson and some fans, however, the sense of a missed opportunity and a much-hyped meeting of the American facing the Jamaica trio in Eugene two weeks later was presented in that light.  Things did not go as planned for Richardson, however, as she had plenty to say before the event but finished in last place.

The result was the same as the Olympics with Thompson-Herah finishing first, Fraser-Pryce second, and Jackson third.  However, it was Fraser-Pryce who went viral following the sprint as she was caught on camera passing an animated Richardson interview with a mirthful look and knowing smirk.  The fans had a field day, but she insists there wasn’t too much to it.

“I mean, seriously, it was just a look,” Fraser-Pryce told sports lifestyle magazine The Undefeated.

 “I was having a conversation with my teammate and she said something, and then I looked. But it wasn’t – it was just what it is. It was just a look, you know? It was just a look. Yeah. There was nothing more behind it, if I’m being very honest, there was nothing more behind it,” she added.

In her mind, the fiery mentality that the American brings to the sport is also good for track and field.

“I like her. I like her personality,” Fraser-Pryce said.

“…for us as women, we’re somehow supposed to just stand at the line, look cute and just run, [and] wave. We’re not allowed to express ourselves or show our emotions.”

 

Jamaica sprint king Usain Bolt has voiced a modicum of support for mercurial United States sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, admitting he is a fan of the energy the young athlete brings to the sport.

Earlier this summer, the 21-year-old was expected to be one of the headliners at the Olympic Games, but things did not go to plan as she missed the event after being suspended for a month after testing positive for marijuana.

Nor did her match-up with the medal-winning Jamaica trio from the Olympics, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson.  Despite plenty of pre-race hype, the American finished last in the event.  The result divided social media users with many still offering support for Richardson, while many others ridiculed her.

Recently the sprinter also drew heat for what many construed to be disrespect shown to legendary American sprinter Alyson Felix who called for patience and support for the young runner.  Bolt, however, believes the athlete’s personality draws more people to the sport.

“I like her energy because I think she’s good for the sport because her energy is different. It’s spicy, it’s a vibe,” Bolt told hip hop magazine Revolt Tv.

“Everybody is different. But, I think she brings a different spice to track and field. And sometimes sports need somebody like that to give the energy, to get people talking about it,” he added.

The double world record holder also offered some kind words of advice to the young American.

“You will have failures throughout your career, it’s just one of those things. In my first Olympics in Athens, I didn’t make it outside the first round. So, it’s just about being determined and pushing yourself, and just believing that you can do it, and just go and do your best.”

  

The Women’s 200m at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday promises to be an electric affair as it features a few of the fastest women in the event in the world this year.

The world’s fastest woman Elaine Thompson (21.53) is a late withdrawal but the field is still stacked.

It features firebrand American Sha’Carri Richardson,  Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson as well as Olympic silver medalist and World U20 champion Christine Mboma of Namibia, both of whom have run faster over the half-lap sprint than the upstart American.

 The 18-year-old Mboma ran a lifetime best 21.81 for the silver medal in Tokyo and 21.82 to win the World U20 title in Kenya last month. She will prove to be a handful not just for the American but also for the Olympic 100m silver medalist Shericka Jackson, who ran a personal best 21.82 in June.

However, in a pre-meet media conference on Friday, Richardson, who will be running on fresher legs, said she hopes to go below her previous best.

“I feel like a baby in such a company because a lot of ladies have a time of 21 seconds behind their name. I get into the starting blocks with the same eagerness for a 200m as I do for a 100m, so hopefully, I can prove that with a fast chrono. My coach and I are also working very hard to excel in both distances, so I'm really looking forward to diving under 22 seconds,” said Richardson whose personal best is 22.00 but has a season-best time of 22.11 run in Gainesville, Florida in April.

She might very well need to, if she is to win, because also included in the line-up is the reigning European champion Dina Asher-Smith, who hampered by a hamstring injury, was forced to withdraw from the event at the Tokyo Olympics last month.

However, the Briton, who is gradually returning to full health, ran a season-best 22.06 in Italy in June and will be hoping to get close to that time after a promising 22.19 for third in Eugene, Oregon on August 21.

Olympic finalist Beatrice Masilingi is also included in the line-up. The Namibian teenager, the sixth-place finisher at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, ran a personal best 22.18 for the silver medal behind at the World U20 Championships in Kenya last month.

Former 100m world record holder and Olympic champion Donovan Bailey believes Jamaica’s women could sweep the blue ribband event in Tokyo.

Heading into the women’s 100m, it is the Jamaican trio of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson who have clocked the fastest times over the distance this year.

Out front, is reigning world champion and two-time winner of the event Fraser-Pryce, with her best time of 10.63, which was recorded last month.  The time was the second-fastest time ever recorded over the distance and fastest in 33 years.

Next up, reigning Olympic champion Thompson-Herah has a season-best of 10.71, a run that she recorded a few weeks ago.  American sprinter Sha’carri Richardson is next on the world's top list with her time of 10.72, which was recorded in April.  Richardson will, however, miss out on the Games after testing positive for marijuana last month.

Jackson, formerly a 400m specialist, had a breakout performance in the sprints last month where she recorded a personal best of 10.77, at the country’s national trials where she was second behind Fraser-Pryce.  The fourth-fastest this year, by an athlete, and certainly puts the 27-year-old firmly in the conversation.

“The women’s 100m will be won by Shelly-Ann Fraser, that's my personal favourite.  I really think Jamaica has the opportunity to sweep.  I think Shericka Jackson has something up her sleeve,” Bailey said during the SportsMax.Tv special series Great Ones.

“We know Elaine will be there, but I think Shelly-Ann is going to get up and keep Elaine out, but I think Shericka Jackson has something for somebody,” he added.

In addition to their fast times this season, all three Jamaicans have the experience of standing on the medal podium.  Fraser-Pryce won the event at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, while Thompson-Herah won the 2016 edition.  It will be Jackson’s first time competing at the event, but she claimed a bronze medal in the 400m at the 2016 Rio Games.

“I was looking forward to this race because I really wanted to see Sha’Carri Richardson under the spotlight with the greatest sprinters of this generation.  I was looking forward to that,” Bailey said.

“The men’s final is open but the women’s final for me is a little more straightforward.  When the lights shine bright, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will not back down.”

USA Track and Field appears to confirmed that Sha Carri Richardson has returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for cannabis from last month’s US Trials and will likely miss the Olympic Games this summer.

Reigning Olympic 100m champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah, will not be a part of Sunday’s showdown with compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the fastest woman in the world this season, Sha'Carri Richardson, at the Gateshead Diamond League.

The Jamaicans and the American seemed set for a blockbuster showdown over the distance, having recorded three of the six fastest times in history. 

However, Thompson-Herah is not listed on the start list for the meet and according to reports has pulled out of the event.  There has been no official reason provided for the sprinter’s withdrawal.

The field will, however, still boast plenty of quality, with Great Britain’s fastest woman, Dinah Asher-Smith, and another Jamaican, Natasha Morrison, also set to face the starter.  Morrison has clocked the third-fastest time over the distance this year, having run her personal best of 10.87, in Florida, last month.

According to reports, Thompson-Herah is also registered to face off against Richards at next week’s Doha Diamond League meet, where multiple world medallist Marie-Josée Ta Lou (Ivory Coast) and Nigeria’s national record holder Blessing Okagbare are also expected to be a part of the field.  Thomspon-Herah is the second-fastest woman this season having clocked a time of 10.78 in Florida last month.

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