In a country where marijuana legalization seems like it’s heading in the right direction, we still have a long way to go. American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson recently accepted a suspension, barring her from competing in the 100-meter sprint at the Tokyo Olympics.
The rising sprinter tested positive for marijuana this week, and received a 30-day suspension. However, Richardson may still run relays after the suspension has ended.
“Don’t judge me, because I am human… I just happen to run a little faster,” stated the athlete.
She was in Oregon when she used cannabis. The plant has been legal in Oregon recreationally since 2015. Richardson told Today host Savannah Guthrie that she used marijuana after a random journalist confronted her about the death of her birth mother. “It was definitely triggering and blinding,” Richardson said. “I know I can’t hide myself, so in some type of way, I was trying to hide my pain.” It was the first time Richardson heard of the passing.
Regardless, the talented athlete took responsibility for the costly mistake. “I know what I did, I know what I’m supposed to do, what I’m allowed not to do. And I still made that decision,” she explained. “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,” U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement. Richardson’s suspension for cannabis is nothing new, and many fans are starting to reference the Michael Phelps situation.
While Phelps never tested positive for marijuana, a picture of him smoking a weed pipe caused a stir.
He was suspended for three months and lost many sponsorship deals in the wake of the “scandal.” Phelp’s suspension took place in February of 2009, six months after the 2008 Olympics and six months before the 2009 World Championships.
Richardson shocked the world during last month’s Olympics trials when she won the 100-meter sprint in 10.86 seconds. The 21-year-old sprinter was striving to be the first American woman to win the Olympic 100-meter title since Gail Devers in 1996. Although she won’t be able to compete in the 100-meter spring, Richardson was not dropped by Nike for the drug test. Instead, the company has backed the runner.
Richardson may be able to compete in the 4×100 relay races, if the drug test is backdated to the day it was taken and not the date the positive reaction was declared. “If I’m allowed to receive that blessing [compete in Tokyo] then I’m grateful for it,” she stated. “But if not, right now I’m just going to focus on myself.” Despite the situation, Richardson is very hopeful about her future.
“This is just one Games. I’m 21, I’m very young. … 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 from me naturally,” she asserted. “No steroid, no anything.
This incident was about marijuana, so after my sanction is up I’ll be back and able to compete, and every single time I step on the track I’ll be ready for whatever anti-doping agency to come and get what it is that they need.”
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