Last week, Sha’Carri Richardson outran her competition during the U.S. Olympic Trials, earning a spot for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Her personality and flaming orange hair made her an overnight sensation, reports the Deseret News.
- Richardson placed first in the women’s 100-meter sprint and was poised to represent Team USA in the race in Tokyo this month, says Deseret News.
Now, the 21-year-old American sprinter may not be able to race in the Olympics after testing positive for marijuana use, reports The New York Times.
When did Sha’Carri Richardson test positive for marijuana?
Rumors exploded Thursday about whether or not Richardson had tested positive for drug use. The rumors were confirmed and clarified on Friday, says The Associated Press.
- Richardson tested positive for cannabis from marijuana use following the Olympic trials meet, says ESPN.
- The positive result invalidates her Olympic Trials competition, disqualifying her from running in the 100 meters, says The New York Times.
Friday, Richardson explained that she had smoked marijuana to cope with her mother’s recent death, per the AP. Her mother passed only days before the Olympic trials.
- Richardson said, “I was definitely triggered and blinded by emotions, blinded by badness, and hurting, and hiding hurt. I know I can’t hide myself, so in some type of way, I was trying to hide my pain,” per the AP.
Per the AP, Richardson also said, “To put on a face and go out in front of the world and hide my pain, who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with pain and struggles you’ve never had to experience before?”
Will she be suspended and how long will the suspension last?
Initially, Richardson faced a three-month suspension, says the AP. However, because she agreed to participate in counseling, her suspension was shortened to one month.
- The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23 with the opening ceremony, according to the Deseret News.
- Richardson’s suspension will end July 27, reports the AP.
The incident has sparked renewed controversy over whether marijuana should be considered a performance-enhancement drug, says The New York Times.
Will Sha’Carri Richardson run at the Tokyo Olympics?
Even though Richardson’s suspension ends before the track and field Olympic events, she is no longer able to compete in the women’s 100, says The New York Times. The event is one of the most highly anticipated track races of the Games.
- Jenna Prandini, the fourth-place finisher at the Olympic trials, will take Richardson’s place in the Olympic 100, The New York Times reports.
- Gabby Thomas, the fifth-place finisher, is now the alternate, says The New York Times.
However, Richardson may be able to race in the women’s track relays, if named to the Olympic Team, says The New York Times.
- About the possibility of running in the relays, Richardson said, “I’m grateful, but if not, I’m just going to focus on myself,” per the AP.
Richardson apologized to her family, fans and sponsors saying, “I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time. I failed you all,” The New York Times reports.