U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson will not run in the 100-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for a chemical found in marijuana.
Richardson, 21, has accepted a one-month suspension which began June 28, officials with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Friday in a statement. The timeline makes her ineligible to run the women’s 100-meter race at the upcoming Olympics, although The New York Times noted that the suspension would end in time for her to run the 4×100 meter relay, if she’s named to Team USA. Officials with USA Track and Field have yet to share their plans for the race, The Associated Press reported.
Officials said a sample collected from Richardson during U.S. Olympic Team Trials last month in Oregon tested positive for a chemical found in marijuana. The substance is legal in Oregon, although athletes are prohibited from using it under the USADA Protocol of Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing.
After news of her positive drug test broke on Thursday, Richardson took to Twitter to say, “I am human.”
In an appearance Friday on NBC’s “Today” show, Richardson apologized to family members and fans.
“I want to take responsibility for my actions,” she said. “I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do. … And I still made that decision. I’m not looking for any excuse or looking for any empathy in my case.”
She said she used marijuana after learning in an interview with a reporter that her biological mother had died.
“I was just thinking it would be a normal interview,” said Richardson, who is 21. “And then … to hear that information come from a complete stranger, it was definitely triggering, it was definitely nerve-shocking. … He was just doing his job, but definitely that sent me into a state of mind, into a state of emotional panic. … I know I can’t hide myself, so in some type of way I was just trying to hide my pain.”
In a statement, officials with USA Track and Field called Richardson’s situation “incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved.”
“Athlete health and well-being continue to be one of USATF’s most critical priorities and we will work with Sha’Carri to ensure she has ample resources to overcome any mental health challenges now and in the future,” the statement said.
Richardson was a favorite to win the women’s 100-meter dash at the Olympics, an accolade not held by the U.S. since Gail Devers won the race in 1996, according to The Wall Street Journal. She had the fastest time during the women’s 100 meter at the U.S. Olympic track and field finals on June 19, topping the field with a time of 10.86 seconds, The Oregonian reported.
On Friday, Richardson vowed to race again once her suspension ended.
“I just want to let y’all know, this will be the last time the Olympics don’t see Sha’Carri Richardson,” she said during her “Today” show appearance. “And this will be the last time the U.S. doesn’t come home with the gold medal in the 100.”
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