‘It does stink’: Psaki laments Richardson rejection from relay team after Biden says ‘rules are rules’

‘We know the rules are where they are – maybe we should take another look at them,’ Psaki suggests

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 08 July 2021 10:48 BST
Psaki says decision to not include Sha’Carri Richardson in Olympic relay team 'stinks'

White House press secretary Jen Psaki lamented Sha’Carri Richardson’s rejection from the US Olympic relay team following her ban from the 100m dash after she tested positive for marijuana use.

Ms Richardson accepted a 30-day suspension after she was found to have used the drug before the US Olympic trials in Oregon. The decision meant that she would miss the 100m race, but she still could have taken part in the 4x100m relay, but she was not included in the team selected by US Track & Field.

CNN anchor John Berman noted that President Joe Biden said on Saturday that the “rules are the rules” in relation to Ms Richardson’s 30-day ban. But the CNN anchor added that not including Ms Richardson on the relay roster was “beyond the rules”.

“I’m wondering if the president, or you for that matter, have an opinion on that – doesn’t that just stink?” Mr Berman asked Ms Psaki on Wednesday.

“It does stink … and I don’t think there’s a better definition of it,” Ms Psaki said. She added that “as an Olympics-obsessed” person, she’s found Ms Richardson to be “inspiring”.

“She had lost her mother, she had gone through a tragedy, and she’s also the fastest woman in the world,” Ms Psaki said, referring to Ms Richardson, saying she had used marijuana while she was dealing with the passing of her mom.

“I think she’s sending a message to a lot of little girls out there – ‘you can do this’,” Ms Psaki added. She said it’s “not the end … it’s maybe the beginning of her story.”

“We know the rules are [what] they are – maybe we should take another look at them,” Ms Psaki said but added that “we certainly have to respect the role of the US Anti-Doping Agency and the US Olympic Committee in the decisions they make”.

“But it is sad and we do wish her luck and look forward to seeing her running as the fastest woman in the world for years to come,” the press secretary said.

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