An illustration of a woman running with an American flag at her back
Michael Byers

Kincaide Stadium in South Dallas might be best known as the home to Carter High School football, one of the programs immortalized in Buzz Bissinger’s book Friday Night Lights. Now, however, spring Saturdays are also etched in the 15,000-seat stadium’s lore. Last fall, the racetrack that circles the football field at Jesse Owens Memorial Complex was named the Sha’Carri Richardson Track after the world’s current fastest woman, who started running there at 9 years old.

“This is one of those full-circle moments, being able to stand in the stadium in my hometown, where I basically started my career, and feel my city showing me that love,” Richardson said in November during a press conference to mark the unveiling.

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The world is looking forward to Richardson’s Olympic debut this summer in Paris, starting July 26 on NBC. She’s representing the U.S. in the women’s 100- and 200-meter as well as the 4×100 meter relay. A fixture in commercials promoting the games on NBC, Richardson will enter as the biggest track and field star in years.

“From the first moment I saw her, I knew she was exceptional,” says Carter track coach Lauren Cross. “She knew she had the talent. But I also didn’t have to convince her to work hard.” Richardson won eight high school state championships while often beating the boys in practice. In 2019, she set the collegiate record for the 100-meter dash in her first year at LSU. Last summer, she won the 2023 World Championships in the 100 with a time of 10.65 seconds—tied for the fifth-fastest women’s time in history.

Richardson’s speed is only the half of it; her aesthetic is also a standout in the field. Most obvious is the bright hair, dyed variously in orange, blue, red, and blond, but there’s also the inches-long, elaborately designed acrylic nails. Her singular style is providing opportunity for Richardson off the track. This year, she’s the face of a new Nike campaign in collaboration with French luxury brand Jacquemus.

“I’m not even ready to stop,” she added. “This is the beginning.”

From the July/August 2024 issue

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