Track legend Usain Bolt had kind words and tough love for troubled sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson days before her first competition since her loss at the Prefontaine Classic.
Richardson’s critics have blasted her for being arrogant, but Bolt admitted he enjoyed her energy.
“I like her energy because I think she’s good for the sport because her energy is different. It’s spicy. It’s a vibe,” the retired runner said.
“Everybody is different. But, I think she brings a different spice to track and field. And sometimes sports need somebody like that to give the energy, to get people talking about it,” he told Revolt TV.
“And she does get people talking about track and field. So, for me, that’s something that I personally feel is good for the sport,” Bolt added. “Because track and field is not the biggest sport in the world that people actually go, ‘You know what? Let’s go watch track and field.’ So, for me, if they’re talking about it because she’s high energy and vibes, then for me, I’m okay with it.”
Bolt’s native Jamaica has been doing a victory lap since three of their runners smoked Richardson at the Prefontaine Classic last month. It was her first race since she was suspended for failing a drug test and unable to compete in the Summer Olympics. She will run the 200m at the Diamond Classic in Brussels on Friday, per Canadian Running.
Bolt argued Richardson should have followed the rules and suggested she find a good team.
“For me, I’ve always said one thing: rules are rules. They’re in place for a reason,” he said of Richardson’s suspension. “That’s how I’ve always looked at track and field. Because as soon as you get your agent or your coach, or the person they have around you, [he/she] has to explain to you that, listen, these are the rules of the sports that you’re in. You can’t do this. You can’t do that. You can’t take this. You can’t do that.”
“I know it must be tough on her,” Bolt continued. “And I’ve always said you should have people around you now to explain it, to make sure this mistake doesn’t happen again.”
The famously vocal Richardson has not responded to Bolt’s commentary.