Sha’Carri Richardson’s story is being shared in a new way.
“Sub Eleven,” the short film about the athlete’s journey up until the June 2021 Olympic trials, has been acquired by The New Yorker. “The thing that drew me to this is that Richardson’s medium, her core thing, is time,” Bafic, the film’s director, said in an interview with the magazine. Virgil Abloh, the multi-hyphenate and former Louis Vuitton menswear creator who died late last year, was the film’s executive producer.
“Sub Eleven” premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2022. It was formally described as “a rumination on time, loss, and hope.”
On June 19, 2021, Richardson qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in track and field. Her 200m time of 10.86, which the film takes its title from, made her the fastest woman in America. It was revealed shortly thereafter that she tested positive for marijuana and she was subsequently suspended for 30 days, disqualifying her from the Games. She has said that she smoked upon discovering her biological mother had died.
Her story has been the backbone of international discourse about Black women and grace.
“That entire situation taught me to look into myself and to see that I have to be grounded, because do you see how fast they flip?” she said in an interview with Teen Vogue. “It almost seems like we have to be superheroes..It’s just irritating because you take away the abilities, you take away the speed, you take away the talent…and we’re still human.”
For Richardson, her focus has always been, and remains, time.
During the film, Richardson’s coach, Dennis Mitchell, says, “Everything she’s been through, everything that has happened to her in her life, whether it has been good or bad, all comes out in that ten-second period.” Indeed, the clock and Richardson are soulmates.
Watch “Sub Eleven” below.