U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, a favorite for gold in the 100-meter event at the Tokyo Olympics, tested positive for marijuana at the U.S. track and field Olympic trials, several news outlets reported.
The Gleaner, a Jamaican newspaper that cited unnamed sources, was the first outlet to report the positive test. Reuters cited two people with knowledge of Richardson’s situation. The sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, the news outlet reported.
Richardson, 21, won the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. trials in Oregon last month, The New York Times reported. However, a doping violation for cannabis could result in a suspension that could last between one month and three months, The Orange County Register reported. It also would mean that all of Richardson’s results from the U.S. trials would be erased, including her victory in the 100-meter final, ESPN reported.
Marijuana is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but if athletes can prove that their ingestion of the substance was unrelated to sports performance, then the four-year suspension is replaced by a three-month penalty, ESPN reported.
In a tweet earlier Thursday, Richardson wrote: “I am human.”
The Olympics begin on July 23, and the women’s 100-meter competition is scheduled to begin July 30, the newspaper reported.
Richardson will appear on NBC’s “Today” show on Friday, the network confirmed to Reuters.
She was projected as a favorite in the 100 meters in Tokyo, along with Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who is a two-time Olympic champion and four-time world champion in the event, the Register reported.
Richardson was attempting to become the first American woman to win the Olympic 100-meter title since Gail Devers in 1996, ESPN reported.
A 30-day ban backdated to the time of the positive test could allow Richardson to race in the 4x100m relay at the Olympics on Aug. 6 if she is selected by USA Track and Field, Reuters reported.
One of the sources told Reuters that Jenna Prandini, who finished fourth in the final of the trials, had been approached to run the 100-meter race for the U.S. Gabby Thomas, who placed fifth at the trials, will now be the alternate for the U.S. squad, the Times reported.
Calls and e-mails by Reuters to Richardson’s agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and USA Track and Field were not returned on Thursday.
Richardson was projected to run in the 200 meters at the Stockholm Diamond League meeting in Sweden this weekend, but she was not on the entry list on Thursday, according to ESPN.