Penn State Harrisburg Presents: A Sit-Down Interview with Sha’Carri Richardson


File Photo

ShaCarri Richardson

On February 24, 2022, The Diversity and Educational Equity Committee presented Athlete Sha’Carri Richardson at the Mulkund S. Kulkarni Theatre in the Student Enrichment Center on campus. Richardson, an athlete known for her record-setting sprint in the NCAA Outdoor Championship (10.75 seconds) and for her running ability quickly landing her a multi-million-dollar contract with Nike, offered a chance for students to get to know her story and hear advice directly from the source.

The 21-year-old from Dallas, Texas, has had many obstacles to get to where she is today, but ever since she was a child, her passion for track has motivated her to keep going. Starting at the age of 9 when she stumbled upon some old track medals, Richardson explains, “I find something in track to push myself through.”

Today, this motivation has turned into a drive to take care of her family during her professional career. When asked about how she plans to take care of and hold her family close during track, Richardson explained, “[by] Putting everything you can.”

One obstacle Richardson has faced throughout her career was missing out on the Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for 2020, but delayed until 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, despite winning the 100-meter-dash in qualifying.  Her mother passed away days before trials began, prompting Richardson to use substances banned by the Olympic committee. Richardson stands by her actions and is looking forward to running in a future Olympics stating, “I learned that a lot growing has a long way to go for me and I will get there.” Richardson reminded students in the audience to look forward to the future, not back and the past, and that it’s okay not to be okay. 

The former Louisiana State University student maintains confidence in herself by “looking good, be[ing] good, and performing good.” Richardson believes that self-pampering allows one to be at their best, and Richardson maintains a positive mental and physical outlook by maintaining her hair, lashes, and nails. While these claims may seem superficial, in 2012, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that “wearing clothes means assuming a particular identity that elicits corresponding behaviors from the wearer,” meaning styling oneself to feel at their best can make one perform their best. 

Second-year student and former track and field athlete Nico Acajabon stated that he “really enjoyed the talk.” “When coming out of the theater I was surprised by how real and human she felt,” he explained, “It’s nice to see someone come up and not forget where they came from along the way because that was a focal point, she kept coming back to her family, her grandmother, and her heritage as a black woman.”

Christian Holtzapple, another second-year student and former track and field athlete, says, “It was really cool to see an Olympic athlete tell their journey and all of the hard work they put into training.”

In summing up her life thus far, Richardson explained, “My journey has been a journey!” When speaking about her future goals, Richardson explained her end goal is to be the fastest woman. “I really hope to see that happen for her and to see her take the Olympic stage in 2028 in LA,” said Acajabon. To follow Richardson’s journey going forward, she can be found on Instagram @carririchardson and Twitter @itskerrii