Sub Eleven Seconds is set to premiere at this year’s Sundance
When Sha’Carri Richardson was disqualified for the 2020 Olympic games, the world was devastated. The Texan track and field sprinter was forced out of the Tokyo competition after testing positive for marijuana, which she said she used after struggling to cope with her biological mother’s death.
Sub Eleven Seconds is the forthcoming documentary about her story and an intimate look at her Olympic quest, from her disqualification to the loss of her mother, news that she learned about from a reporter and which sent her into an “emotional panic”.
Filmed during the 2021 USA Track & Field Olympic trials, the short is directed by Dazed 100er Bafic and executive produced by the late Virgil Abloh, and is set to premiere at this year’s virtual Sundance film festival.
“Time is my blessing and my curse,” Richardson says in the trailer. “On the track, I’ve been blessed to run fast. Off the track, time has cheated me. You don’t know when something or someone will be taken from you.” The Sundance website describes the film as “a rumination on time, loss, and hope,” featuring a “poetic” imagining of Richardson’s quest to reach the Games.
“We all have our different struggles,” she said of her disqualification at the time. “But to put on a face, to have to go in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain, like, who are you? Who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with a pain or you’re dealing with a struggle you’ve never experienced before?”
“I apologise for the fact that I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time,” she continued. “Don’t judge me. I am human... I just happen to run a little faster.”
As well as her record-breaking speeds, the athlete is famous for competing in a full set of glam, including a lace-front wig, a full set of diamond-covered acrylic nails, and lash extensions – although she refuses to be defined by it. “No matter what colour my hair is, no matter how long my nails are, no matter how outspoken I am, my talent speaks for itself,” she said. “When I step on the track, it doesn’t matter what I look like or what colour I am. If I can do it, I’m (going to) do it – the talent speaks for itself.”
Watch the trailer for Sub Eleven Seconds below.