Who is Sha'Carri Richardson? Plus, four other female athletes who've gotten our attention ahead of the Tokyo Olympics 2021

All eyes are on Sha'Carri Richardson—and these fellow female athletes—ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

 Sha'Carri Richardson competes in the Women's 100 Meter on day 2 of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 19, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Update: It now looks like Sha'Carri Richardson won't be attending the Tokyo Olympics at all. 

Following a one-month suspension by USA Track & Field for marijuana use, it was announced on Tuesday, July 6th that the sprinter—who won the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month—would not be included on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field roster for this year's Tokyo games. 

After testing positive for THC, Richardson's results at the 100-meter were disqualified. However, she was still eligible to compete as part of the 4x100 relay team—that is, until today, when Team USA declined to include the 21-year-old on the roster. Former LSU sprinter Aleia Hobbs will be joining the 4x100 relay pool in Richardson's place. 

USA Track & Field released an official statement on the decision today: "While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games." 

"All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances," the statement continued. "So while our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams by securing a place on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team."

The organization claims that pot can be performance-enhancing, per The New York Times, but Richardson has said she'd been using it as a means to cope with her biological mother's death that happened days before the qualifying event. The 30-day suspension does allow her to participate in the 4x100-meter relay at the Olympics in August, should the USATF approve.

The runner appeared on the Today Show to apologize for the news about her participation in the games. "As much as I'm disappointed, I know that when I step on the track I represent not only myself, I represent a community that has shown great support, great love," she said. "I apologize for the fact that I didn't know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time."

Richardson's fans are particularly supportive of her response and her candor about her struggles. She assured Today viewers that she's only at the beginning of her career. "I have plenty of Games left in me to compete in and I have plenty of talent that backs me up because everything I do comes from me naturally. No steroid, no anything," she added. 

We'll be following along to see what Sha'Carri Richardson achieves next. In the meantime, be sure to check out these other amazing feeling athletes who are causing a buzz ahead of the international event.

1. Who is Sha'Carri Richardson? (USA) 

It took Sha'Carri Richardson 10.64 seconds to finish the 100-meter heat to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. But it arguably took even less time for sports fans to fall in love with the 21-year-old sprinter. 

Richardson is a Dallas, Texas, native who had record-breaking performances while attending Louisiana State (she finished a 100-meter dash in 10.75 seconds in 2019, earning an NCAA title). Although one of the fastest women in the world, per Yahoo, is a revered runner, people especially admire Richardson's lively personality, her bright-orange hair, and her involvement and support of the LGBTQ+ community. (She publicly shouted out her girlfriend after qualifying for the Olympics.)

2. Who is Leticia Bufoni? (Brazil) 

Hailing from Sao Paulo, Leticia Bufoni has completely dominated the male sport of skateboarding by earning five X Games gold medals. Nike even credits her for morphing the sport into a "culture, commodity, and creative platform" for women. 

Per Redbull, Bufoni is the first woman signed to the Nike SB team, the first woman on the cover of The Skateboard Mag, and even has a reality TV show in Brazil. She'll represent the Brazil skateboarding team in the 2021 Olympics.

Although she temporarily relocated to the U.S. as a teen to hone her skateboarding skills, Bufoni was chosen to be a member of Brazil’s first-ever national skateboarding team in 2019. We have a feeling she'll continue to shatter—or should we say shred—the glass ceiling in Tokyo.

  • She did it first: 20 women who set records, made history and changed the world in 2020

3. Who is Hannah Roberts? (USA) 

Like Leticia Bufoni, Hannah Roberts is breaking records with her amazing athletic skills. She'll represent the USA in the BMX Freestyle's Olympics debut in 2021. 

According to the USA Cycling website, Roberts became the first-ever BMX Freestyle World Champion at the debut UCI World Championships in Chengdu, China, so we're confident she'll find similar success this summer. Her love for the sport all started with her family—her cousin Brett Banasiewicz is considered one of the sport's most valuable players.

4. Who is A’ja Wilson? (USA)

A’ja Wilson is a slam-dunk addition to the USA's women's basketball team for the 2021 Olympics. She was the youngest member of the gold medal-winning 2018 World Cup Team and plays for the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces.

Although her love of basketball stemmed from her father, Roscoe, and she began playing the sport when she was 11, Wilson is also an esteemed volleyball player, according to USAB's website. She's also an entrepreneur and owns the Burnt Wax Candle Company.

5. Who is Sky Brown? (Great Britain) 

At 12 years old, most of us were playing JV sports in middle school. Meanwhile, Sky Brown—who will turn 13 on July 12th—will be competing as an Olympic skateboarder for Great Britain in Tokyo. Impressive, huh? NBC reports that she has the potential to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936.

Although Sky Brown is a talented athlete and was once called "a unicorn on a skateboard" by none other than Tony Hawk himself, per ESPN, her Instagram account is still managed by mom. Love that!

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. 

More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York

When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.