Sha’Carri Richardson isn’t back. She’s better, and so is U.S. women’s sprinting

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As the outdoor track and field season began in earnest, Sha’Carri Richardson offered a succinct self-assessment that, so far, can also apply to U.S. women’s flat sprinting.

“Y’all say I’m back,” she said earlier this month. “I’m not back. I’m better.”

Ten months ago, the U.S. earned zero medals across the women’s 100m, 200m and 400m at a world championships for the first time. A year before that, the U.S. didn’t win a single gold or silver medal across those events at an Olympics for the first time since 2000.

Times are changing. To be more specific, they’re getting quicker for U.S. female sprinters.

Collectively, they’ve been the story of the early season: Richardson’s hot start in the 100m and 200m, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone‘s decision to start racing the flat 400m and Britton Wilson‘s similar choice between the flat 400m and hurdles. What’s more, McLaughlin-Levrone and Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu could each go for three gold medals at this August’s worlds by adding the mixed-gender and women’s 4x400m relays to their lineups (see about that for Mu, since the 800m final is an hour before the women’s 4x400m final on the last day).

On Saturday, Richardson headlines the 100m at the Los Angeles Grand Prix (4:30-6 p.m. ET, NBC,, NBC Sports app and Peacock).

She’s already the world’s fastest woman this year (it’s early) after clocking 10.76 seconds on May 5 (and beating world silver medalist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica). She’s also second-fastest in the world this year in the 200m, registering 22.07 two weeks ago while shutting it down early in an easy victory.

In LA, Richardson faces a 100m field that includes the second-fastest U.S. woman this year, fellow former LSU Tiger Aleia Hobbs. It marks another test for Richardson, who come July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships will try to make her first global championship team. The 200m in LA features Olympic bronze medalist Gabby Thomas, who was slowed last year by a torn hamstring but torched her 400m personal best in April.

Richardson has spoken about finding her peace on the track again, two years after having her Olympic Trials win stripped for testing positive for marijuana, which she used after learning of the death of her biological mother. Last year, Richardson was eliminated in the 100m heats at USATF Outdoors.

NBC Sports analysts Sanya Richards-Ross and Ato Boldon both have Richardson winning a 100m medal at August’s worlds in Hungary, should she keep this up. No U.S. woman has won an Olympic or world 100m medal since the late Tori Bowie‘s title in 2017.

Boldon said Richardson has specifically worked on her start with coach Dennis Mitchell, and it is much improved.

“What I’m seeing now is I think that she has regained her confidence,” Richards-Ross said. “You could tell in her early couple of races, she looked a little bit timid, especially through some of her phases. But now, when she’s coming up and getting tall in the final phases of the 100m or the 200m, she looks so confident.”

Jamaica owned the women’s 100m for the last 16 years, but Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the reigning world champion, has yet to race this year, withdrawing from her most recent scheduled meet with a reported knee injury.

“It’s just hard to bet against someone who has so much experience and so many medals,” Richards-Ross said of the 36-year-old Fraser-Pryce, who owns two Olympic 100m titles, five world 100m titles and is coming off her most dominant season yet. “So until she proves me different, I think that she’s still the favorite.”

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the reigning Olympic champion, raced one low-key 200m and 400m this season, ranking outside the world top 100 in each event. Jackson is the lone Jamaican superstar to compete at the top level so far this spring, and Richardson beat her.

Moving up in distance, the U.S. could be taking over the flat 400m in the absence of Olympic and world champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, who gave birth to a son last month.

McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and world champion and world record holder in the 400m hurdles, has yet to compete this outdoor season. But the three races she’s announced are all in the flat 400m — the LA Grand Prix (from which she then withdrew), the Paris Diamond League on June 9 and USATF Outdoors in early July.

She has a bye into the 400m hurdles at worlds as defending champion, but her coach, Bobby Kersee, said she will race one individual event at worlds, to be decided after USATF Outdoors. That means she could bypass the hurdles for the flat 400m, should she finish top three at USATF Outdoors.

Richards-Ross and Boldon wouldn’t be surprised if McLaughlin-Levrone does not clear a single hurdle in competition this year.

“She’s done everything imaginable in the 400m hurdles, so it makes sense that in a season that’s not an Olympic year that she’d decide to do the 400m, see how fast she can run,” said Richards-Ross, the 2012 Olympic 400m champion.

Richards-Ross believes that her American record of 48.70 seconds is under threat this season. Her eyes are not only on McLaughlin-Levrone, who at last July’s worlds posted the second-fastest 4x400m relay split in the last 33 years, but also Wilson, a University of Arkansas junior.

At the SEC Championships two weeks ago, Wilson won the 400m in 49.13 seconds, a time that would have taken silver at the last Olympics and worlds. Less than two hours later, she won the 400m hurdles in 53.28, just two tenths off her personal best, for the fastest one-day 400m-400m hurdles double in history.

Boldon believes the 400m hurdles is her best event. Richards-Ross says it’s proving to be the flat 400m.

Wilson is running both events again at this weekend’s NCAA regionals. The finals at the NCAA Championships in two weeks are 25 minutes apart. At July’s USATF Outdoors, the 400m final and 400m hurdles semifinals are 15 minutes apart, so conventional wisdom says she must pick one race there, though Wilson has not announced her plans.

How Richards-Ross analyzed Wilson could hold true for multiple U.S. sprinters this season.

“She’s barely scratched the surface,” she said.

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Ryan Crouser breaks world record in shot put at Los Angeles Grand Prix


Two-time Olympic champion Ryan Crouser registered one of the greatest performances in track and field history, breaking his world record and throwing three of the six farthest shot puts of all time at the Los Angeles Grand Prix on Saturday.

Crouser unleashed throws of 23.56 meters, 23.31 and 23.23 at UCLA’s Drake Stadium. His previous world record from the Tokyo Olympic Trials was 23.37. He now owns the top four throws in history, and the 23.23 is tied for the fifth-best throw in history.

“The best thing is I’m still on high volume [training], heavy throws in the ring and heavy weights in the weight room, so we’re just starting to work in some speed,” the 6-foot-7 Crouser, who is perfecting a new technique coined the “Crouser slide,” told Lewis Johnson on NBC.

Sha’Carri Richardson won her 100m heat in 10.90 seconds into a slight headwind, then did not start the final about 90 minutes later due to cramping, Johnson said. Richardson is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 100m in 2023 (10.76) and No. 2 in the 200m (22.07).

Jamaican Ackeem Blake won the men’s 100m in a personal best 9.89 seconds. He now ranks third in the world this year behind Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala and American Fred Kerley, who meet in the Diamond League in Rabat, Morocco on Sunday (2-4 p.m. ET, CNBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock).

The next major meet is the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in early July, when the top three in most individual events qualify for August’s world championships.

Richardson will bid to make her first global championships team, two years after having her Olympic Trials win stripped for testing positive for marijuana and one year after being eliminated in the first round of the 100m at USATF Outdoors.

LA GRAND PRIX: Full Results

Also Saturday, Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico won the 100m hurdles in 12.31, the fastest time ever this early in a year. Nigerian Tobi Amusan, who at last July’s worlds lowered the world record to 12.12, was eighth in the eight-woman field in 12.69.

Maggie Ewen upset world champion Chase Ealey in the shot put by throwing 20.45 meters, upping her personal best by more than three feet. Ewen went from 12th-best in American history to third behind 2016 Olympic champion Michelle Carter and Ealey.

Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic ran the fastest women’s 400m since the Tokyo Olympics, clocking 48.98 seconds. Paulino is the Olympic and world silver medalist. Olympic and world champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas is on a maternity break.

Rio Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy won the 800m in 1:44.75, beating a field that included most of the top Americans in the event. Notably absent was 2019 World champion Donovan Brazier, who hasn’t raced since July 20 of last year amid foot problems.

CJ Allen won the 400m hurdles in a personal best 47.91, consolidating his argument as the second-best American in the event behind Olympic and world silver medalist Rai Benjamin, who withdrew from the meet earlier this week.

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Primoz Roglic set to win Giro d’Italia over Geraint Thomas

106th Giro d'Italia 2023 - Stage 20
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Primož Roglič all but secured the Giro d’Italia title on Saturday by overtaking leader Geraint Thomas on the penultimate stage despite having a mechanical problem on the mountain time trial.

Roglič started the stage 26 seconds behind Thomas — who was trying to become the oldest Giro champion in history — but finished the route 40 seconds quicker than the British cyclist after the demanding climb of the Monte Lussari.

That saw Roglič move into the leader’s pink jersey, 14 seconds ahead of Thomas going into the race’s mainly ceremonial final stage.

Roglič was cheered on all the way by thousands of fans from just across the border to his native Slovenia. They packed the slopes of the brutal ascent up Monte Lussari, which had an elevation of more than 3,000 feet and gradients of up to 22%.

The 33-year-old Roglič celebrated at the end with his wife and son, who was wearing a replica of the pink jersey.

“Just something amazing, eh? It’s not at the end about the win itself, but about the people, and the energy here, so incredible, really moments to live and to remember,” said Roglič, who had tears in his eyes during the post-stage television interview, which he did with his son in his arms.

It will be a fourth Grand Tour victory for Roglič, who won the Spanish Vuelta three years in a row from 2019-2021

Roglič also almost won the Tour de France in 2020, when he was leading going into another mountain time trial on the penultimate stage. But that time it was Roglič who lost time and the race to compatriot Tadej Pogačar in one of the most memorable upsets in a Grand Tour in recent years.

It appeared as if the Jumbo-Visma cyclist’s hopes were evaporating again when he rode over a pothole about halfway through the brutal climb up Monte Lussari and his chain came off, meaning he had to quickly change bicycles.

His teammates and staff had their hands over their heads in disbelief.

Despite that setback, Roglič — who had been 16 seconds ahead of Thomas at the previous intermediate time check — went on to increase his advantage.

“I dropped the chain, I mean it’s part of it,” he said. “But I got started again and I just went … I had the legs, the people gave me extra (energy).”

The 33-year-old Roglič won the stage ahead of Thomas. Joao Almeida was third, 42 seconds slower.

For Thomas, his bad luck at the Giro continued. In 2017, he was involved in a crash caused by a police motorbike, and three years later he fractured his hip after a drinks bottle became lodged under his wheel – being forced to abandon both times.

Thomas turned 37 on Thursday. The Ineos Grenadiers cyclist had seemed poised to become the oldest Giro winner in history — beating the record of Fiorenzo Magni, who was 34 when he won in 1955.

“I could feel my legs going about a kilometer and a half from the top. I just didn’t feel I had that real grunt,” Thomas said. “I guess it’s nice to lose by that much rather than a second or two, because that would be worse I think.

“At least he smashed me and to be honest Primoz deserves that. He had a mechanical as well, still put 40 seconds into me so chapeau to him. If you’d told me this back in (February), March, I would have bit your hand off but now I’m devastated.”

Thomas and Roglič exchanged fist bumps as they waited their turn to ride down the ramp at the start of the 11.6-mile time trial.

The Giro will finish in Rome on Sunday, with 10 laps of a seven-mile circuit through the streets of the capital, taking in many of its historic sites.

“One more day to go, one more focus, because I think the lap is quite hard, technical. So it’s not over til it’s finished,” Roglič said. “But looks good, voila.”

The route will pass by places such as the Altare della Patria, the Capitoline Hill, the Circus Maximus and finish at the Imperial Forums, in the shadow of the Colosseum.

The Tour de France starts July 1, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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