By Devon POV Mason
American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson looks set to miss the Olympic Games her US Olympic Trials performance because she tested positive for a prohibited substance. News of the infringement arrives four weeks before the start of Olympic competition at the July 23 to August 8 showpiece in Tokyo.
In an interview with NBC on Friday, Richardson blamed the positive test on her use of marijuana as a way to cope with the unexpected death of her biological mother while she was in Oregon for the Olympic trials. Richardson, who was raised by her grandmother, said she learned about the death from a reporter during an interview and called it triggering and “definitely nerve-shocking.”
Richardson, who accepted a one-month suspension, added:
“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.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2021
According to multiple sources multiple who asked for anonymity, traces of the substance were found in the 21-year-old’s sample from a recent drug test. That particular test was carried out at the U.S. Olympic trials.
Since January 1, 2021, the drug has been classified as a “Substance of Abuse” by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and currently carries a maximum four-year ban.
However, if an athlete can prove that the drug was used out of competition and that there was no sports benefit, then and only then can the ban be reduced to a period of three months with no need to further examine the degree of fault.
Richardson was expected to challenge for the 100m gold at the Games, after posting 10.72 in April — one of five legal sub — 11 seconds clockings from the American this season. She also won the 100m at the Olympic Trials in June 19 in a time of 10.86. But with the turn of events this performance has been provisionally disqualified.
It is now understood that Jenna Prandini who finished fourth in the 100m trials, will replace Richardson at the Olympics, while fifth-place finisher Gabby Thomas has also been entered.
Richardson’s win at the US Trials and her strong personality have drawn the admiration of US celebrities such as former First Lady Michelle Obama, and actress Viola Davis.
Richardson was looking to become the first American women to win gold in the 100m at the Olympic Games since Gail Devers in 1996.
Now she has another challenge; dealing with her mental health and the downfall of this unfortunate occurrence. She will need love and support to get through it.
If she really did smoke for the first time before the Olympics Trials, then we wish someone could have given her another option to cope with the stress of losing her mother. This is a tough situation but she’s young and talented and will look back at this as one to grow on.