American 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson will be absent from the Tokyo Olympics 100m this summer following a positive drug test for marijuana. The sprinter tested positive at the U.S. Olympic trials and received a 30-day suspension, which ends on July 27.
Richardson was the winner of last week’s 100m at the Olympic trials, crossing the line in 10.86 seconds on June 19. After the race, she tested positive for THC, and so her result was erased from the records. Jenna Prandini, who placed fourth, is expected to take Richardson’s place in the 100m in Tokyo. Since her ban lifts on July 27, it is still possible for Richardson to compete for team U.S. in the relays, but USA Track and Field has not yet released their plans for the relay teams.
Amid several rumours about her drug use, Richardson went on The Today Show on Friday to set the record straight. She explained in an interview that she had smoked marijuana to help her cope with her mother’s recent death.
“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.”
I am human
— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) July 1, 2021
Usually, Richardson would have been subject to a three-month ban for this type of infraction, but because she agreed to participate in a counseling program, her ban was reduced by two-thirds. When asked about her chances of still being able to run on the relay team, she told interviewers that if she were able to run, she’d be grateful, but if not, she’s simply going to focus on herself.
Richardson’s ban is yet another surprising and disappointing blow for the U.S. Olympic track and field team, following 100m world champion Christian Coleman’s suspension for missing too many drug tests and 1,500m and 5,000m American record-holder Shelby Houlihan’s four-year ban after testing positive for nandrolone.