The Paris Olympics will settle in 10 seconds who is the fastest woman in the world. Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has bagged medals at every Olympic Games since Beijing 2008. Now, at 37, having just recovered from an injury last year, the sprinting legend is up against a young hotshot. American Sha’Carri Richardson, 24, will be making her Olympic debut after breaking the Jamaican’s record.

Richardson’s Olympic campaign has already got off to a good start. She finished first in her heats in the opening round of the US Olympic track and field trials on Friday (June 21) with a time of 10.88 seconds.

Fraser-Pryce will be seen at the Jamaican Olympic trials, beginning on June 27. Down with a hamstring injury suffered in the 4x100m at the Budapest World Championships in August 2023, she ran her first race this year only on June 15. She won the 100m race in Kingston, Jamaica, in 11.15 seconds.

That’s slow compared with Richardson’s Olympic trials time, but slow starts are not unusual for Fraser-Pryce, points out Total Running Productions. She opened her 2019 season with an even slower time of 11.20 seconds but ran under 10.90 seconds seven times that year.

So, she can pick up the pace when needed.

How they stack up against each other

See how Richardson and Fraser-Pryce measure against each other in a YouTube video posted by Total Running Productions.

They first faced each other in the 100m at the Prefontaine Classic in Palo Alto, California on June 30, 2019.

Richardson was faster than Fraser-Pryce. The American came fourth, the Jamaican seventh. Fraser wasn’t even “close to sprinting”, she was “practically jogging”, said the commentator in the YouTube video. The Jamaican could be much faster, as she proved when she won the 100m in 10.71 seconds in the World Championships finals in Doha, Qatar, later that year, on September 29, 2019.

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Richardson, nevertheless, has a slight edge in showdowns against Fraser-Pryce. They have competed in seven races – and Richardson has won four, Fraser-Pryce three.

Richardson’s recent success

But Fraser-Pryce clocked faster times than Richardson in the 100m every year from 2016 till 2022 – and then the tide turned.

Richardson struck gold at the 2023 World Championships, winning the 100m in 10.65 seconds, setting a new record, beating Fraser-Pryce, and shaving .05 seconds off the record set by the Jamaican only the previous year.

The Paris Olympics could be the crowning moment for Richardson, says Total Running Productions.

The Jamaicans used to dominate the 100m, but the only Jamaican now in the top 10 is Bryanna Lyston at Louisiana State University who unexpectedly completed her season and dropped out of the Olympics.

Besides Richardson, there are other highly regarded young Americans such as Aleia Hobbs, McKenzie Long and Jacious Sears, currently the world’s fastest woman with the season’s best time of 10.77 seconds.

The favourite

Richardson seems to be the favourite, though. “After a tumultuous 2021 season and a rather disappointing 2022 season she has turned everything around, she has reached the top of the world, she broke the championship record of one of her Jamaican rivals and now she is just the favourite for this Olympic Games,” says the commentator in the YouTube video

Fraser-Pryce has said she will retire after the Paris Olympics. “My son needs me,” she said about her child, born in 2017.

She has already won medals at every Olympics since 2008. Her Olympic haul includes gold medals in the 100 m in Beijing (2008) and London (2012) as well as in the 4x100m in Tokyo (2021); silver medals in the 200 m in London and the 4x100m in  London and Rio (2016); and a bronze in the 100m in Rio. Whoever wins in Paris, she will be remembered as one of the greatest sprinters ever.

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Source: Total Running Productions

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