The hope that a U.S. women’s sprinter will win its first gold medal in the 100-meter race since 1996 just took a major hit.
Sha’Carri Richardson, who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics last month, has been suspended from the Olympic team after testing positive for THC.
According to The Associated Press, her results from the Olympic trials have been erased, making her ineligible for the 100-meter race in Tokyo.
On Friday, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced that Richardson tested positive in a sample collected at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on June 19, 2021. Richardson has accepted a one-month suspension that began on June 28, 2021.
“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels; hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart.
On Friday morning, Richardson went on NBC’s “TODAY” show and expressed remorse for her actions.
“Honestly, I just want to apologize for my actions,” Richardson said. “I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do, I’m allowed not to do, and I still made that decision. Not making any excuse, or looking for any empathy in my case.”
“Don’t judge me, because I am human… I just happen to run a little faster.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2021
Athletes that test positive for a substance of abuse usually receive a three-month suspension if they’re able to prove the “use of the substance occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance.” However, an athlete can have their sentence reduced to one month if they complete a substance abuse treatment program, which Richardson did.
While Richardson will not be able to compete in her race — the 100 meters — there is a small chance that she’ll be able to compete in the women’s relay race.
“Right now, I’m just putting all my time and energy into doing what I need to do, which is heal myself,” Richardson said when asked about competing in the relay. “If I’m allowed to receive that blessing, then I’m grateful for it. But if not, I’m going to just focus on myself.”
At the Olympic trials, Richardson ran the 100 meters in 10.86 seconds, even though she informed the world after the race that her biological mother had passed away the week before.
Richardson admitted to using marijuana in order to cope with the loss.
“We all have our different struggles, we all have our different things we deal with. But to put on a face, and have to go in front of the world, and put on a face and hide my pain,” she said. “Who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with a pain, or dealing with a struggle that you’ve never experienced before?”
The USATF put out a statement following Richardson’s appearance on NBC.
“Sha’Carri Richardson’s situation is 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.”
USATF Statement regarding Sha’Carri Richardson
— USATF (@usatf) July 2, 2021
“This will be the last time the Olympics don’t see Sha’Carri Richardson, and this will be the last time the U.S. doesn’t come home with the gold medal in the 100,” Richardson said.
“This is just one Games. I’m 21, I’m very young. Unlike most, I have plenty of Games left in me to compete in. And I have plenty of talent that backs me up because everything I do comes to me naturally. No steroids, no anything. This incident was about marijuana. After my sanction is up, I’ll be back and able to compete … This will never happen again.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.