Just a few days after the conclusion of the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, numerous medalists were in Zurich, Switzerland, on Thursday for a Diamond League meet. There were a couple of athletes who showed signs of a Worlds hangover, but others didn't.
One who very much did not was Sha'Carri Richardson, one of the darlings of the world championships. Richardson took the line for the 100 meters against a strong group of competitors, including her gold-medal winning 4x100 teammate TeeTee Terry, Tokyo Olympics titlist Elaine Thompson-Herah, and 2019 Worlds bronze medalist Mujinga Kambundji.
Richardson won with ease on Thursday, posting a time of 10.88 seconds, pulling away from the field midway through the race. Jamaicans Natasha Morrison and Thompson-Herah were second and third in 11.00 seconds, with Morrison getting second in a photo finish.
It was the 11th time in 13 races this year that Richardson has run 10.90 seconds or faster, continuing her phenomenal bounce-back season after the disappointment of being suspended for the 2021 Olympics due to marijuana use and a forgettable 2022 season in which she didn't even make the U.S. world championship team.
In Budapest, Richardson won three medals: gold in the 100 in a championship record 10.65 seconds, bronze in the 200 in a personal best 21.92 seconds and gold in the 4x100, where she ran a remarkably relaxed anchor leg.
Sha'Carri Richardson with the win!
In first her meet since becoming the world 100m champion, Richardson secures the Diamond League 100m victory tonight in 10.88.
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— NBC Olympics & Paralympics (@NBCOlympics) August 31, 2023
She has been fond of saying "I'm not back, I'm better," of her '23 campaign, and it's hard to argue. Richardson has been consistently great on the track again. Before her stumbles, she was was thrust into the world spotlight and turned professional at just 19, after winning the NCAA 100 championship as a true freshman at LSU in a meet record 10.75 seconds. Yet she had some in the track world ready to write her off after the events of the previous two years.
In Budapest, Richardson sounded confident and happy, even before winning her first global medal, telling NBC Sports' Lewis Johnson after her opening-round 100 run, "The world — I'm not worried about the world anymore. I've seen the world be my friend, I've seen the world turn on me."
Thompson-Herah, one of the most decorated sprinters of the past decade with 11 World and Olympic medals, has been struggling with injuries for several months, and ran in only the opening round of the 4x100 relay in Budapest, not the final nor either of her usual individual events. Still, her 11.00 time Thursday was a season best.
Other women's gold medalists from Budapest also fared well. Jamaican Shericka Jackson, who sparked talk of her breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner's 35-year-old world record in the 200 last week, cruised to another victory at the distance (21.82 seconds), and Danielle Williams won a stacked 100m hurdles race (12.54 seconds).
Noah Lyles, who became the first man since Usain Bolt in 2015 to win world titles in the 100, 200 and 4x100 in the same year, had to work for his win in the 200 on Thursday, pushed by fellow American Erriyon Knighton. Lyles and Knighton were 1-2 in Budapest and repeated that finish, with Lyles running 19.80 and Knighton at 19.87.
Lyles flashed his late-race push, but Knighton went with him as their rivalry continued. Knighton was once a top wide receiver prospect, but the Florida native turned pro in track before graduating high school, rare for an American in the sport. Now 19, Knighton has run faster than Bolt ever did at his age and has the 11 best 200 times ever for an under-20 sprinter.
American Yared Nuguse, who finished fifth in the 1,500 at his first Worlds last week, won that event on Thursday, edging world gold medalist Josh Kerr at the line, 3:30.49 to 3:30.51.
There are three more Diamond League meets this season, including the two-day championships in Eugene, Oregon, on Sept. 16-17.