Fantasy 150m Showdown: Shericka Jackson vs Sha’Carri Richardson, who’s your money on?

 

Over the past few years, athletic fans have clamored for a bit of flexibility on how the sport is projected around the world. In this era where the entertainment side of the sport is often accentuated more than the competitive side, it’s rather pertinent to nurse ideas that can keep the incoming generation (Gen Z’s) glued to the content athletics produces.

One such content is pitting superstars of athletics in random events that they would excel at outside of their signature events. Sounds fun right? Of course, it does. Maybe so much for hipsters, too. But what we now consume as wholesome content in different varieties is what we now call different varieties of sports.

In the past few days, world athletics have drawn up graphics of different showdowns that could potentially happen. It’s a big if; still, let’s roll up with the mindset that it might happen sometime in the future. And they are pretty much enticing prospects for the average fan.

Shericka Jackson wins at 200m in Brussels! photo by Diamond League AG

It started with the 2024 rivalries, Jakob Ingebrigtsen vs. Jake Whiteman vs. Josh Kerr in the 1500m to the women’s 800m, which pitted Athing Mu up against Mary Moora and Keely Hodgkinson, and 400mH World Champion Karsten Warholm and Mondo Duplantis slugging it out in the 100m. It made for a good spectacle, to be fair. It’s what will surely whet the appetite of fans and certainly has the potential to fill up a stadium.

However, it wasn’t until the recent post about reigning 100m world Champion Sha’Carri Richardson going up against reigning 200m Champion Shericka Jackson over the 150m. Now that’s box office stuff. Aside from the fact that it takes the eternal rivalry between Jamaican and the US to another level, it potentially could have the opportunity to rake in money for all parties involved.

It was tagged “Fantasy 150m showdown”. This is a race that can become a reality. Like a blockbuster boxing clash between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, this could be an athletics chance to penetrate new audiences and markets beyond the hardcore fans who follow the sports and crunch the numbers.

To the race itself, there is very little to separate. Jackson, the Jamaican powerhouse, made headlines in 2023 with her breathtaking performances in the 200m. She came within a whisker of breaking the world record. Jackson’s ability to maintain incredible speed through the bend and explode down the straightaway positions her as a top contender in the proposed 150m showdown.

ShaCarri Richardson, Budapest 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

On the other side of the track, Richardson, known for her flashy style and blazing speed, emerged as the 100m world champion at the World Championships. The American has the same Personal Best-10.65s as Jackson over the 100m. A bit younger, Richardson has the panache to grow into one of the very best in the sport, and this sort of race is what brands to throw their weight behind.

The question arises – can her dynamic and explosive start give her the edge in a 150m race against the likes of Jackson?

The comparison draws parallels to the race in 1997 surrounding the “world’s fastest man.” In an unsanctioned 150m race at SkyDome, Donovan Bailey, the 1996 Olympic 100m champion from Canada, faced off against Michael Johnson, the 1996 Olympic 200m and 400m champion from the United States. The event captured the world’s attention as it pitted two sprinting legends against each other in a battle for supremacy.

Similarly, a 150m race between Jackson and Richardson would be a clash of contrasting styles and strengths. Jackson’s prowess in the longer sprints, with her near-world record performance in the 200m, versus Richardson’s knack for having one of the best top-end speeds when she gets into her running adds intrigue to the hypothetical matchup. The race could unfold as a captivating narrative, where Jackson’s endurance battles Richardson’s raw speed.

In the end, the prospect of witnessing two sprinters go head-to-head in a 150m battle adds a thrilling chapter to the rich history of sprint competitions. Fantasy or not, it won’t be a terrible idea to make it happen.

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