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Sha’Carri Richardson Loses Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year in Debut Nomination to Spanish Football Icon

Published 04/22/2024, 2:33 PM EDT

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Shortly after  Sha’Carri Richardson won the World 100M title in Budapest last year, celebrated American football quarterback Robert Griffin III had tweeted, “Sha’Carri Richardson just beat one of the most decorated Women’s 100m fields of all time to become a World Champion. Doubted all year. Barely made the final. BUT DELIVERED a personal best and CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD when it matter most. Her haters are in shambles.” Those last two lines echoed the sentiment across America.

With that performance, Sha’Carri had clearly announced herself as a red-hot favorite too for the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award. When the announcement came through in Madrid, it was nothing short of a shock for American fans. Sha’Carri was beaten to the finish line by another sensational sportswoman – Aitana Bonmati, the soccer superstar and World Cup winner from Spain.

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Aitana Bonmati is the first football player to be named the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year and Usain Bolt presented the award to her. Last season Bonmati won the Ballon d’Or award, for having played a crucial role in her club’s victories in Liga F, the Spanish Cup, and the Women’s Champions League. The outstanding midfielder also received the title of best player at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Bonmati has played more than 150 games and scored more than 50 goals for Spain since 2016. It was a double celebration for the 26-year-old because her team won the Laureus World Team of the Year, which made them the first all-female team to win this feat. Martina Navratilova and Alessandro del Piero presented the prestigious award.

List of 2024 Laureus Sports Awards
Award Category Winner
Sportswoman of the Year AwardAitana Bonmati
Team of the Year AwardSpain Women’s Football Team
Sportsman of the Year AwardNovak Djokovic
Comeback of the Year AwardSimone Biles
Breakthrough of the Year AwardJude Bellingham
Laureus Sport for Good Award Fundación Rafa Nadal 
Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability AwardDiede de Groot
Action Sportsperson of the Year AwardArisa Trew

On the other hand, for Richardson, that “I’m not back, I’m better,” mindset creeps into everything that she does. From making a staunch comeback to standing atop the podium at the 2023 World Athletics Championships, Richardson made sure to end her season on a great note. And, when the victory knocked on her door at the 2023 USATF awards, she excepted the accolade gracefully.

When the USATF glory found its way to Sha’Carri Richardson

Back in December 2023, when the ‘Night of Legends’ USATF Award ceremony commenced in Orlando, Florida, the echoes in the venue were calling two names – Sha’Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles. While Noah Lyles took home Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year’ award for the third time in his career, Richardson was awarded with the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Athlete of the Year’ award for women.

When she walked on the stage in her shimmery barbie attire to recieve the award, a chorus of cheers erupted among the spectators. “With the God that I serve, everything happens when it’s supposed to happen. So when I stand here today as the world champion, that’s because now was the time for that to happen. Now is the most impactful it would be, the most powerful it would be, and the most sincere it would be,” Richardson said in her victory speech.

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Adding more to her wall of fame, the biggest heartwarming moment came for Richardson in October 2023, when the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to have the track field named after the three-time world medallist. The track at Jesse Owens Athletic Complex’s John Kincaide Stadium in Dallas got named after Sha’Carri Richardson. I’m literally speechless,” is what the sprinter said when the 100m world champion received the honor of having a stadium named after her.

Hence, ever since she made a comeback in 2023, Richardson became a testament to the American dream. Following suit, she looks forward to take reins in the upcoming Diamond Leagues, with the golden dream of Paris in her heart.

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Written by:

Maleehah Shakeel

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Maleehah Shakeel is an Olympic Sports writer at EssentiallySports who covers equestrian sports, rodeo, bull riding, and Gymnastics. Maleehah’s stories revolve around various brand endorsement deals of athletes like Jessica Springsteen, Jennifer Gates, and Olivia Dunne. She has written in depth about the brand collaboration between Jessica Springsteen and Tommy Hilfiger.
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Edited by:

Sampurna Pal