Sha’Carri Richardson and Her Hairstylist Reflect on the 'Symbolism' Behind Her Viral 2023 Wig Toss

The track star opens up about her hair and more for the latest 'Vogue' digital issue

<p>NBC Olympics & Paralympics/Twitter</p> Sha

NBC Olympics & Paralympics/Twitter

Sha'Carri Richardson throwing off her wig at the 2023 U.S. Track and Field Championships

Sha’Carri Richardson is looking back at her viral wig toss one year after making the defiant beauty statement at the 2023 U.S. Track and Field Championships.

The 24-year-old sprinter, who is Vogue’s August 2024 digital cover star, opened up to the publication about what inspired her to reveal her braids ahead of the 100m championship race last July.

“I’m not gonna change the confidence that I have in myself ever. But at the same time, I have learned there is a way that I can carry that so much more gracefully. That’s where that moment came from,” she told Vogue on the set of her cover shoot.

Related: Sha’Carri Richardson Tosses Off Wig Ahead of Winning 100m in US Championship Comeback

“I only could get to this point through experience and having the right people around me. I know that no matter what I do, no matter what decision I make, I know that it comes from me,” she added.

Key Rentz, the Orlando-based braider who did the athlete's hair for the meet, also shared: “I was like, ‘Oh no, she didn’t like her hair. Why does she still have the wig on?’ When I seen her rip it, I was like ‘Oh my god, yes ma'am, I know that’s right.’ I understood the symbolism when she did it. I understand where she was coming from.”

On working with Rentz, Richardson said: “Key gives me an energy that, even while she’s doing my hair, I can almost feel her genuineness going into my scalp.”

Related: Sha’Carri Richardson Tosses Off Wig Ahead of Winning 100m in US Championship Comeback

By rocking bold hairstyles, hitting the track in fashion-forward looks and breaking records with long acrylics nails on her fingers (“I got into nails because of my grandmother,” Richardson told Vogue), she's proving that she does things on her terms.

But, Richardson does look to other women in the field for inspiration, particularly the late legend, Florence Griffith Joyner. “I found my interest in Flo-Jo [Griffith Joyner’s nickname] after finding my love for track through my mom,” Richardson told Vogue. “Flo-Jo’s influence on me definitely comes from her creativity and her freedom to express herself in a way that no other female athlete has ever done. Showing beauty, yet being able to show hard work."

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<p>Patrick Smith/Getty</p> Sha'Carri Richardson

Patrick Smith/Getty

Sha'Carri Richardson

Related: Meet the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team Headed to the Paris Olympics

In two weeks time, Richardson will be heading to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris with Team U.S.A. — four years after she was disqualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Richardson’s comeback can only be summed up by her own slogan: “I’m not back, I’m better.”

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“The fact that I'm able to stand here and be the athlete I've been, I've been the woman I've been,” Richardson told PEOPLE while speaking about her partnership with Danone in December 2023. “I’m wiser. I'm calmer, I'm disciplined and I'm more focused on the responsibility that I have as well as my passion for what I do."

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit and come to to check out ongoing coverage before, during and after the games. Watch the Paris Olympics and Paralympics, beginning July 26, on NBC and Peacock.

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