Sha’Carri Richardson will miss Tokyo Olympics in wake of suspension over marijuana test

The superstar sprinter was already set to miss her main event, the 100 metre sprint, but still had a chance at competing in later events once her suspension was over

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 07 July 2021 10:41
<p>US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson won’t be competing in the Tokyo Olympics, after being left off the roster following a positive test for marijuana.</p>

US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson won’t be competing in the Tokyo Olympics, after being left off the roster following a positive test for marijuana.

Superstar US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson won’t be competing in the Tokyo Olympics at all this summer, after USA Track and Field decided not to include her in its lineup in the wake of her one-month suspension over a positive marijuana test.

Last week, USATF announced the runner, who became an overnight star after a dominant performance in the 100 metre sprint at the US Olympic trials in Oregon, would be suspended for a month after the drug test. However, there was still a chance she would compete later in the Games for the US 4x100 relay squad once the suspension was over.

Then, on Tuesday, the US track body announced the 21-year-old wouldn’t make the roster for the relay because of the drug test, ending her Olympic hopes.

“While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC [a chemical in marijuana] should be reevaluated, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the US Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games,” the organisation said in a statement on Tuesday.

“All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances.”

Ms Richardson, who won over fans with her swagger and shock of brightly dyed hair, is one of a number of Black athletes who has been prevented from competing in the Olympics this year. South African track gold medalist Caster Semenya, an intersex cisgender woman, won’t be in Tokyo because she refused to take suppressants that would lower her natural testosterone level.

Others have noted that the International Swim Federation did not allow the use of the Soul Cap, a swim cap designed for natural Black hair. Numerous public figures including Joe Biden have rallied behind Ms Richardson after her suspension, as some said her predicament showed that world sporting authorities were singling out Black women.

In an interview on Friday with the Today Show, Ms Richardson said she used marijuana, which is legal in Oregon, to cope with the recent revelation during an interview that her biological mother was dead, which left her “in a state of emotional panic.”

“Right now, I’m just putting all of my energy into dealing with what I need to do to heal myself,” she said on the show last week. “If I’m allowed to receive that blessing, then I’m grateful for it. But if not, right now, I’m going to just focus on myself.”

“I want to take responsibility for my actions,” she added. “I’m not looking for an excuse.”

Reflecting on possibly missing the Games, Ms Richardson said earlier this month on Twitter it was a “promise” she would be world champion next year.

“I’m sorry, I can’t be y’all Olympic Champ this year but I promise I’ll be your World Champ next year,” she wrote. “The support my community I thank y’all, the negative forget y’all and enjoy the Games because we all know it won’t be the same,” she added.

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