The world needs Sha’Carri Richardson — a fierce black woman who kicks ass and takes names, dominating the field on her own terms, taking the track with her long dyed hair, tattoos, decorated nails and decked in jewels. She’s the kind of polarizing athlete that stands in opposition of the old guard while captivating the imagination of the next generation. At only 21 years old, she’s a sensation set to introduce herself to the world at the Tokyo Games later this month.
As a freshman at LSU, she broke the NCAA record for the women’s 100 meter sprint with a time of 10.75 seconds. She is a gold-medal favorite in the event at the Tokyo Olympics after winning her trials heat.
However, Richardson won’t be competing in her calling-card event because of a failed drug test. No, not steroids or some other form of performance enhancing drug. She tested positive for Marijuana.
“Richardson’s competitive results obtained on June 19, 2021, including her Olympic qualifying results at the Team Trials, have been disqualified, and she forfeits any medals, points, and prizes. Beyond the one-month sanction, athlete eligibility for the Tokyo Games is determined by the USOPC and/or USA Track & Field eligibility rules,” the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said today in a statement.
Richardson was in Oregon — where marijuana is legal — for the U.S. Olympic Trials last month, where she mentioned the death of her biological mother.
“My family has kept me grounded. This year has been crazy for me going from just last week losing my biological mother and I’m still here,” she said during an interview after securing her spot on the Olympic team. “My biological mother passed away and [I’m] still choosing to pursue my dreams, still coming out here, still making sure to make the family that I do still have on this earth proud.”
In an interview this morning on the TODAY Show, Richardson addressed her failed drug test. She said that she smoked marijuana in Oregon after learning of the death of her biological mother to help her cope with her emotions. Richardson has done nothing but handle the situation with grace, while taking responsibility for her choices.
“I just want to take responsibility for my actions, 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. I’m not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case,” Richardson said.
“It will never be a steroid, it will never be a steroid attached to the name Sha’Carri Richardson,” she said in the interview.
Marijuana is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances. Both USADA and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee are signatories to the WADA code, meaning they follow its rules.
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