Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah scored an emphatic 100m victory over the returning Sha’Carri Richardson at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon on Saturday.
Jamaican star Thompson-Herah powered over the line at Hayward Field in 10.54sec — the second fastest time in history — as Richardson finished a distant last in 11.14sec.
Saturday’s Diamond League clash in Eugene had been billed as a chance for Richardson to show the world what might have been after she was banned from the Olympics for testing positive for marijuana following her win at the US trials in June.
But in her first race since returning from suspension, the 21-year-old Texan was never in contention as Thompson-Herah — who completed back-to-back Olympic 100m and 200m wins in Tokyo — surged away to finish several meters clear of the field.
Thompson-Herah’s compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce finished second in 10.73sec while Shericka Jackson took third in 10.76sec — a carbon copy of the Tokyo Olympic 100m podium.
Richardson meanwhile put on a defiant stance after her much-hyped comeback fell flat.
“It was a great return back to the sport,” Richardson told NBC television.
“I wanted to be able to come and perform. Having the month off, dealing with all I had to deal with, I’m not upset with myself at all.
“This is one race, I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of. Count me out if you want to, talk all the s— you want, because I’m here to stay,” added Richardson, who later withdrew from a women’s 200m won by Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji.
Thompson-Herah’s winning time saw her slice 0.07sec off her Olympic record of 10.61sec set on July 31.
Only the late Florence Griffith Joyner has ever run faster, with Thompson-Herah now tantalisingly close to the American’s 33-year-old world record of 10.49sec.
“To come back with a PB after the championships, that is amazing,” said Thompson-Herah.
“It means a lot to me…because my job is to inspire a generation. I have more races, so I don’t get too excited, too carried away. I have to continue doing the job.”