American champion Sha’Carri Richardson cannot run in the Olympic 100-meter race after testing positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana.
Richardson won the 100 at the Olympic trials on June 19. She told of her ban Friday on the “Today Show.”
Richardson says she smoked marijuana as a way of coping with her mother’s recent death. She tested positive at the Olympic trials and so her result is erased.
She accepted a 30-day suspension that ends July 27, which would be in time to run in the women’s relays. USA Track and Field has not yet disclosed plans for the relay.
When asked about the possibility of competing in the relay, Richardson said she’d be grateful for that opportunity, but she is focusing on healing herself.
“Right now, I’m just putting all my time and energy into dealing with what I need to deal with to heal myself. If I’m allowed to receive that blessing, then I’m grateful for it, but if not, right now, I’m just going to focus on myself,” Richardson told Savannah Guthrie.
The 21-year-old sprinter was expected to face Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in one of the most highly anticipated races of the Olympic track meet.
Richardson captured the hearts of many when she ran into the stands to hug her grandmother following her victory in the 100-meter qualifying race. It had been just a week after losing her biological mother.
THIS is what it's all about.@itskerrii is headed to the Olympics, and she immediately ran into the stands to celebrate with her family.@usatf | #TokyoOlympics x #TrackFieldTrials21 pic.twitter.com/MjvZmmOKPg
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 20, 2021
“Standing here, I just say don’t judge me, because I am human. I’m you. I just happen to run a little faster,” Richardson said during her interview.
“Don’t judge me, because I am human… I just happen to run a little faster.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2021
Update: LSU Track and Field Head Coach Dennis Shaver issued a statement in support of Richardson:
"We offer Sha'Carri our support during these difficult times. The most important thing is for us to be here to support her off the track in moments like these. Sports are sports, but life is life. Mental health is something that needs to be prioritized at a higher level, and we fully back Sha'Carri as she copes through this."
"She is one of the brightest and most notable stars in track & field without a doubt. She represents and encourages so many people. The pride, the energy, the pure entertainment - she brings so much attention to our sport that is matched by few. We will miss her representing Team USA and LSU on the Olympic stage this July in the 100 meters, but we know how promising her future is."