EUGENE, Oregon, June 22 (Reuters) - As Sha’Carri Richardson dashes across America’s tracks, her long hair flowing, her social media numbers have soared.
More than a million followers have taken up the journey of the new U.S. women’s 100m champion, whose brashness and fast times have brought new interest to the sport.
Yet the 21-year-old Texan, who ran the sixth-fastest women’s time ever in April, clocking 10.72 seconds, has called on her fans to slow down a bit when talk turns to breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 1988 world record of 10.49.
“I’m not looking to rush my journey,” Richardson told a virtual media conference on Tuesday, days after winning her speciality at the U.S. Olympic trials in 10.86.
“I am glad everybody feels like ... I can even do that (set the world record),” she said.
“But my journey has just started. I just want to develop and progress. It’s not what the people would love for me to run, which is as much as I would. I am not going to put that expectation on myself and disappoint myself.
“When it is time for that time to come, it will be that time and everybody will be there to see it.
“I am not satisfied yet.”
At the Tokyo Games, Richardson will get the chance to prove herself against Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic 100m champion, and current gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah.
Fraser-Pryce is the second fastest sprinter of all-time after her 10.63 earlier this month and Thompson-Herah the fifth fastest (10.70).
Reporting by Gene Cherry; Editing by Peter Rutherford