In a recent interview with the New York Post, retired Olympic champion cum musician Usain Bolt urged American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson to focus on her training so her performances can back up her frequent big talks.
Though 21-year-old Richardson has emerged as a very promising athlete, she has also made a name for herself for being very outspoken about her abilities. But that is yet to manifest on the field after she started competing following her 30-day suspension for testing positive for marijuana. She was unable to compete for the U.S. athletics team at the Tokyo Olympics as a result.
In response to her off-the-field talks, Bolt said it rather spurs her Jamaican opponents to teach her a lesson on the field. “I would tell Sha’Carri to train harder and to be focused and not say too much … If you talk that big talk you have to back it up,” the 35-year-old said. “So just train hard and focus on that and try to come back do it and then talk about it.”
There were high expectations for Richardson to excel at the Prefontaine Classic in August following her return from suspension. But she finished last in the women’s 100-meter race as she was outclassed by Jamaican sprinters Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson. The trio finished first, second and third respectively.
Leading up to that competition, Richardson shared a viral video on social media announcing her return. “I took some time off to rest and now it’s game time, b*tches. You have no idea!” she lip-synched to Nicki Minaj’s viral meme quote.
But Bolt said Richardson’s antics leading up to the race were taken very personally by Jamaicans. “Jamaicans were vexed because she was talking a lot of s–t before the actual race, it is just one of those things,” the sprinting legend said. “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 [to win.]”
The retired sprinter also said he watched the August 21 race and recalled his expectations as well as how Jamaicans responded to Richardson finishing last. “I actually watched the race it was on my birthday … so all my friends were there. We stopped everything just to watch the race. I knew Elaine [Thompson-Herah] was going to win,” he said. “I knew she was going to run a fast time but I didn’t expect Sha’ Carri to come in last though.”
“But it was like, ‘Oh s–t’ but the memes kept coming quick. You know Jamaicans they were laughing and just going in at her [Richardson]. It was just one of those things,” he added.
Bolt also likened the Richardson situation to American sprinter Justin Gatlin trying to rile him up leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
“That was my thing with Justin Gatlin — because he’s the one that was always talking — so that gives me that energy like, ‘All right you think you’re gonna win let’s go!’” Bolt said. “So it does give you that extra boost to wanna beat that person.”
Bolt ended up winning the 100m final with Gatlin settling for the second position.