It wasn’t the return that anyone expected.
United States track star Sha’Carri Richardson made her return to competition on Saturday at Nike’s Prefontaine Classic, where she would match up with Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah.
However, it was more of a mismatch than anything.
Thompson-Herah blew Richardson – and the rest of the field – away, running a 10.54, the second-fastest 100-meter time in women’s track history, trailing only Florence Griffith Joyner’s 10.49 run at the 1988 U.S. Olympic trials.
Richardson, somewhat shockingly, finished last with a time of 11.14.
Saturday’s result comes just weeks after Thompson-Herah broke Joyner’s 100-meter Olympic record of 10.62 by posting a 10.61 en route to winning gold in Tokyo.
Still, there was some thought that if Richardson had raced in Tokyo – she was suspended due to a marijuana violation – maybe she could have challenged Thompson-Herah, considering Richardson’s 10.72 in April of this year is the sixth-fastest 100m time in women’s history.
And Richardson had the powerful backing that made Saturday’s race all the more intriguing.
First, Kanye West showed his support.
Then, Nike added its own.
Any speculation as to who is the fastest woman on Earth ended on Saturday, at least until the two take the track again.
As for Richardson, she spoke on the track after the race and warned doubters about counting her out because of Saturday’s underwhelming performance.
The silver lining in all of this? Richardson turned 21 in March.
Time is on her side, even if Twitter is not.