The United States track and field gem Sha’Carri Richardson, who secured her slot in the Tokyo Olympics going to be held this Summer has been suspended for the event, after testing positive for traces of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) in her body, during a dope test held by the United States Olympic Committee on July 1, 2021, before the big event.
Richardson had qualified for the Olympic Games representing the United States in the 100-meter race category after securing a victory during her trials at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon held on June 19.
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The United States Anti Doping Agency released a statement that said, “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.”
What happens next?
Athletes who test positive for substance abuse, i.e; narcotics, mind/body altering drugs, or steroids, are subject to a three-month suspension period. THC, a hallucinogenic chemical found in Cannabis was newly added to the list of banned chemicals in 2021. However, in cases of hallucinogens and other few chemicals, athletes can plea to the committee stating and clarifying that their use of the substance occurred out of competition and was unrelated to their sporting performance. Stepping on the same ground, Sha’Carri Richardson has been handed a one-month “period of ineligibility” that has begun on June 28, 2021.
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Richardson took a counseling program regarding her use of cannabis which helped make her case to bring down her ineligibility down to just one month. The suspension takes Richardson out of running in her signature event at the Olympics, but chances are she may still be able to perform in the 4×100-meter relay race.
Issuing an apology to her fans, Sha’Carri Richardson said that she takes responsibility for her actions and doesn’t want to make excuses. “When I step on the track, I do not represent myself, I represent an entire community that has shown me great support.”, said Richardson. On Twitter, she apologized for being so naive and tweeted “I am only human.”, asking people to forgive her for such a letdown.
During her qualification rounds, Sha’Carri Richardson ran the 100 meters in just 10.86 seconds, sparking hopes that the U.S. might win its first gold in the women’s race since Gail Devers brought home the medal back in 1996. She gained more public attention when she ran into the stands, after finishing her race, to embrace her grandmother in the audience. During a post-match interview, she revealed that she had lost her mother only last week. It was clear that she was determined to make her country proud when she was suffering heartbreak.
Not the end of the world…
The United States Track & Field released a statement saying “Sha’Carri Richardson’s situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved.” It was also mentioned in the statement that athlete health and well-being are one of USATF’s top priorities and the council will be working closely with Richardson to ensure that she doesn’t face any mental health challenges or psychological stress during these tough times and in the future.
Sha’Carri Richardson, a native of Dallas, Texas, is known for sporting long eyelashes and her neon wigs. She is a cheerful person who knows how to pick herself up after a fall, be it in the track or her life.
“This will be the last time the Olympics don’t see Sha’Carri Richardson, and this will be the last time the U.S. doesn’t come home with a gold medal in the 100,” a very optimistic Richardson said on Friday. “At 21 years of age, I am still very young and I have plenty of races left in me.”, she added. She also vowed to be back ready to fight once her suspension is over and also issued an assurance citing “this will never happen again”.
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