Sha’Carri Richardson has been suspended for one month from the U.S. Olympic team after testing positive for marijuana, which could exclude her from the Tokyo Olympics. The 21-year-old sprinter zoomed past the competition earlier this month, winning the women’s 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon. However, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced on Friday (July 2) that she will be barred from competing in that event at the Olympics.
There’s still a chance that Richardson will be allowed to compete as a member of the women’s 4×100 relay team, though, because that race is set to happen after her suspension has been lifted. Marijuana usage is prohibited in-competition under the World Anti-Doping Agency rules.
During an interview with the “TODAY” show, Richardson apologized to her fans. The Texas native explained that she used marijuana to cope with her emotions after a reporter informed her that her biological mother had passed away. Richardson learned the devastating news just days before the Olympic trials and said it sent her into an “emotional panic.”
“I would like to say to my fans and my family and my sponsorships and to the haters too: I apologize. As much as I’m disappointed, I know [this] doesn’t represent myself or the community that has shown me great support and great love,” she said on “TODAY.” “And to y’all, I feel y’all and I apologize… I [didn’t] know how to deal with my emotions and control my emotions during that time.”
“I’m human,” she added on Twitter.
Richardson said that right now, she’s focusing on “doing what I need to do to heal myself.” She added that if she’s “allowed to receive the blessing” of competing in the 4×100 relay, then she’ll be “grateful for it.”
In a statement, USA Track & Field said: “Sha’Carri Richardson’s situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved. Athlete health and well-being continue to be one of USATF’s most critical priorities and we will work with Sha’Carri to ensure she has ample resources to overcome any mental health challenges now and in the future.”
USA Today reports that 10.72 seconds, Richardson’s season-best time for the 100-meter dash, was the second-fastest time in the world this year. See a snippet from her interview below.