Sha’Carri Richardson Explains Wig-Toss Before 2023 Career Win

Sha'Carri Richardson
US’ Sha’Carri Richardson competes to win the women’s 100m final during the Diamond League athletics meeting at Stadion Letzigrund stadium in Zurich on August 31, 2023. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

In July 2023, Sha’Carri Richardson captured global attention with her bold move at the U.S. Track and Field Championships. Before clinching victory with a world-leading 10.71 seconds in the 100m, Richardson made a statement by tossing her vibrant orange wig on the track. This symbolic gesture revealed her braids and marked a moment of self-expression.

Sha’Carri Richardson Embracing Confidence

Richardson opened up about her iconic moment in a behind-the-scenes video with Vogue magazine. She explained, “My head. I’m not gonna change the confidence that I have in myself ever. But at the same time, I have learned there is a way that I can carry that so much more gracefully. That’s where really that moment came from.”

Her hairstylist, Key Rentz, also reflected on the moment. Rentz shared, “I was like, ‘Oh no, she didn’t like her hair. Why does she still have the wig on?’ When I saw her rip it, I was like ‘Oh my god, yes ma’am, I know that’s right.’ I understood the symbolism when she did it. I understand where she was coming from.”

Richardson’s confidence extends beyond her appearance. “Every time you step on the track, it’s a validation of the time you’ve put in, the sacrifices you make on the daily,” she detailed in Vogue. “When I get on the blocks, it’s about getting the job done. I know there’s joy at the other end, at the finish line. But I also know I’ve got to earn that happiness.”

Looking to the Future

Richardson is set to compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, representing Team USA. Her journey has not been without challenges. After being disqualified from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to a positive drug test, Richardson’s return marks a powerful comeback.

Reflecting on her journey, Richardson shared, “I’m not back, I’m better.” Her resilience and dedication have been a source of inspiration. “The fact that I’m able to stand here and be the athlete I’ve been, I’ve been the woman I’ve been. I’m wiser. I’m calmer, I’m disciplined and I’m more focused on the responsibility that I have as well as my passion for what I do.”

Richardson continues to draw inspiration from legendary athletes like Florence Griffith Joyner. “I found my interest in Flo-Jo after finding my love for track through my mom. Flo-Jo’s influence on me definitely comes from her creativity and her freedom to express herself in a way that no other female athlete has ever done,” she told Vogue.