As Vogue’s August digital cover star, Richardson fuels anticipation for her long-awaited Olympics debut.
Last summer, as she won a 100-meter race in 10.7 seconds, Sha’Carri Richardson told the assembled media, “I’m not back, I’m better.”. Now, ahead of the Paris Olympics, which kicks off on July 26 and mark Richardson’s debut on Team USA, the world’s fastest woman is doubling down.
As she covers Vogue for its digital August issue, Richardson gives insight into her life leading up to the Olympics, opening up about what her now-famous mantra really means.
“I don’t just mean I’m a better runner,” she told the publication, referring to the fact that she has “returned” to compete in the Olympics following disqualification from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 after testing positive for cannabis.
“It’s beyond that. I’m better at being Sha’Carri. I’m better at being myself,” she continued.
Among the many lessons Richardson has learned through her athletic journey is the direct impact of her choices, both good and bad.
“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,” Richardson told 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.”

Richardson continued, noting that while the sport of track may come to mind for the rest of the world every four years or so, for her, it’s a 24/7 lifestyle.
“Track is my life on a day-to-day basis. Everything I do — what I eat, what I drink, if I stay up too late — it’s all reflected on the track,” she added. “Every choice. That’s what the world doesn’t see.”
Another insight the famed runner has gained as she prepares to sprint for the USA’s women’s track team is to think of both her sport and the Olympics as a chess game.
“Every move you make is leading to checkmate,” she explained. “So the Olympics, OK, that’s checkmate; that’s the moment an athlete dreams about. But every race I have leading up to that matters too — that’s my opportunity to grow, so by the time I’m on the track in Paris, I know I’ve done my trial and error.”
While much forethought and consideration have gone into her preparation, Richardson is ultimately doing her best to remain in the present moment. This summer, that means focusing on the Paris Olympics one practice at a time and one race at a time instead of letting the pressure to win gold build up.
“Because if all I’m doing is looking ahead, then I can’t be where I need to be,” she continued. “Which is here, now.”