Positive Marijuana Test May Put An End To Track Star’s Olympic Dream

Contributed By Scott Lipscomb

Sha’Carri Richardson, who went viral for crushing the 100m trial recently, could miss the Games after testing positive for marijuana.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced the positive test result Friday morning, and said Richardson had accepted a suspension of one month, starting on June 28. That could clear her in time to run in the 4×100 meter relay that takes place later in the Games — if she is named to the U.S. team, reported the New York Times.

Richardson’s biological mother had passed shortly before the trials which was a lot emotionally for her. In an interview with NBC this morning she cites her loss of her mother for her using marijuana to cope. Although raised by her grandmother primarily, she was informed of the death of her mother from a reporter while at the Olympic Trials, and called it triggering and “definitely nerve-shocking.”

“It sent me into a state of emotional panic,” she said, adding, “I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time.”
She apologized to her fans, her family and her sponsors, saying, “I greatly apologize if I let you guys down, and I did.”

U.S.A. Track & Field has notified other women who competed in the 100-meter final at the trials about the failed drug test, according to one person with direct knowledge of the information, and several runners have been told that they have moved up a spot in the final standings reported the New York Times.
Jenna Prandini, who placed fourth at the trials, has been notified that she will now be one of the three American women running the 100 in Tokyo, and Gabby Thomas, who finished fifth at the trials, was named as an alternate for the race, the person said.

Although her suspension will be finished before the start of the Olympics, she will miss the qualifying rounds for the women’s 100m.

Early Thursday afternoon, Richardson cryptically tweeted, “I am human.” And on NBC on Friday, she expanded on that thought.

“I just say, don’t judge me and I am human — I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster,” she said, adding that she expects some people to criticize her marijuana use. “They don’t necessarily understand, and I wouldn’t even call them haters.”

In a statement, U.S.A. Track & Field said Richardson’s situation “is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved,” but made no mention of whether or how she would compete at the Olympics.

“While we are heartbroken, the USOPC is steadfast in its commitment to clean competition and it supports the anti-doping code,” the organization said in a statement Friday morning. “A positive test for any banned substance comes with consequences and we are working with the USATF to determine the appropriate next steps. We are dedicated to providing Sha’Carri the support services she needs during this difficult time.”

Her 10.86 time at trials made her a heavy favorite to bring home the gold medal. While the situation is unfortunate, we hope Richardson continues to heal from the passing of her mother.