In an effort to preserve the sanctity of the event, the Olympic Games have long maintained extremely strict policies regarding doping and drug use. If any substance on the event’s banned list is discovered within an athlete’s body, they’re issued a lengthy suspension, no exceptions. Sadly, this is the reason that American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson will be missing the Tokyo Olympics.
Richardson placed in the 100 at the Olympic Trials with a time of 10.86 seconds several weeks ago. However, after the trials, all athletes were required to submit to a mandatory drug test to ensure no doping substances were present in their bodies. When Richardson was tested, traces of particular chemical signature to marijuana use were found in her body, prompting her suspension from the games then and there.
Richardson has been slapped with a 30-day suspension ending on July 27, which is unfortunately after the Olympic 100. The fourth-place finisher in the Trials, Jenna Prandini, is expected to take Richardson’s place in that run, though she should still be able to compete in the women’s relays, pending decisions by the USA Track and Field team.
In response to the announcement, Richardson posted a brief tweet to her personal Twitter, simply reading “I am human.”
Following that, she went into more detail during an interview on The Today Show, explaining that she took up recreational marijuana use as a means of coping with the recent passing of her mother.
BREAKING: American champion Sha’Carri Richardson cannot run in the Olympic 100-meter race after testing positive for a chemical found in marijuana. Richardson won the 100 at Olympic trials on June 19. https://t.co/ERUw1HA8ev
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 2, 2021
“I was definitely triggered and blinded by emotions, blinded by badness, and hurting, and hiding hurt,” she said. “I know I can’t hide myself, so in some type of way, I was trying to hide my pain.”
The USA Track and Field team said that Richardson’s “situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved.” The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee added that it was “working with USATF to determine the appropriate next steps.”