Fresh off of collecting her 11th Olympic medal at the Tokyo Olympics and, in turn, becoming the most decorated American track and field athlete of all time, Allyson Felix made an appearance Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss her experience in Tokyo as well as her new sneaker brand, Saysh. But instead of focusing solely on her own accomplishments and endeavors, the 35-year-old also took the time to send some love to embattled sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who was unable to compete in Tokyo after a failed drug test.
“I know that she’s obviously been through so much and I hope that she’s just supported. I hope people rally around her,” Felix said. “Obviously, she has a great personality and she’s brought a lot of attention to the sport and I think she’ll be in the sport for a very long time.”
She continued, “I think just more than anything, for all athletes, there’s so much that goes into it. Just give her the support that she needs.”
Sounds like a class act to me.
But after getting wind of Felix’s praise, instead of expressing gratitude, Richardson took to her Instagram Stories to deliver some completely unnecessary ether.
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“Encouraging words on TV shows are just as real as well nothing at all,” she wrote.
Now to be fair, we know absolutely nothing about the personal relationship between Felix and Richardson. It’s always possible that Richardson reached out to Felix during this difficult time and sought mentorship, but maybe she didn’t receive the help or support she desired. However, the optics on this look abysmal, so as to be expected, Black Twitter drew a line in the sand and reminded the 21-year-old that disrespect toward Felix will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Again, we have no idea what their personal relationship is, but we can all agree that Richardson should’ve handled this situation differently. Especially considering that Felix’s only crime was offering genuine words of encouragement.
Hopefully, somebody in Sha’Carri’s circle pulls her aside and teaches her how to better navigate situations like this, or else her off-track decisions could continue to derail her promising career in track and field.