“I Wish I Never Did This. I Wish I Had The Choice.” | An Older, Wiser U.S. Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson Regrets Today Show Interview After Positive Marijuana Test

It seems like U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson isn’t going to be able to run away from this marijuana story anytime soon. Richardson took to Twitter on Tuesday and quote-tweeted a video of her appearance on NBC’s “Today” show following the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials last year, where she discussed her positive marijuana test. The dynamic sprinter tweeted she wished she never did the interview.

“I wish I never did this. I wish I had the choice when it was time for me to tell my story.”

Watching the interview you can tell that Richardson was given specific talking points about owning up to her mistake and taking responsibility for her actions. It was straight out of the athlete public relations handbook.

“This is one of the biggest moments in my life that impacted me both positively and negatively,” Richardson said to Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie in July 2021. The interview took place four days after the conclusion of the US Track & Field Olympic Trials. “Dealing with the relationship I had with my mother. That weighed heavily on me and people don’t understand what it’s like…to have to put on a face and go in front of the world and hide my pain. Who are you or who am I to tell you how to cope?”

But why is she bringing it up again now, a year later?

It’s clear Richardson felt like she couldn’t say what she wanted to back in 2021. At the time of her positive test Richardson said her biological mother had died the week before Trials, and that she used the substance after being “blinded by emotion, blinded by bad news, blinded by just hurting, hiding hurt, honestly. … I was just trying to hide my pain.”

Richardson won the 100 meters at the Trials, which meant she had a legitimate shot at finishing on the medal stand in Tokyo at the Olympic games. That win in Oregon was her biggest victory to date in her career. You couple those emotions with the loss of a parent, and it’s easy to understand why she might smoke marijuana.

But since THC, which is found in marijuana, is a banned substance, she was suspended from Team USA by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for a month, and ineligible for the 100 in the Olympics.

This USADA ruling is an obvious sore spot for Richardson, as she complained about the appearance of a double standard during the Winter Olympics in February.

Russian skater Kamila Valieva was allowed to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics after a failed drug test.

“Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines?” Richardson tweeted. “My mother died and I can’t run and was also favored to place top 3. The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady.”

Richardson sees the only difference between she and Valieva is skin color. On the surface that seems to be the case. Both athletes failed a drug test, one was allowed to continue to compete in the Olympics and the other wasn’t.

The drugs they tested positive for are different, as was the timing of the tests and it was two different governing bodies. USADA suspended Richardson, while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowed Valieva to compete.

Additionally, the IOC said each case is handled separately and since Valieva was 15 years old at the time, as a minor she is a “protected person.”

Sounds like different strokes for different folks. All athletes want fairness and consistency in rules and their implementation. It’s frustrating when it appears as though in similar situations penalties are not always equal.

Still, Richardson remains a draw and there is excitement surrounding her whenever she arrives at a meet. She competed at the NYC Grand Prix meet last weekend and won the 200 meters in 22.38, .38 seconds off her personal best.

The USATF Outdoor Championships begin Thursday in Eugene, Oregon. A strong showing and top-three finish in the 100 and/or 200 meters will go a long way in putting this marijuana story to bed and setting Richardson up for her biggest meet to date, the World Track & Field Championships in July.

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