Track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson opened up after a drug test found cannabis in her system. The 21-year-old was set to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after dominating the 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field trials in Oregon last month. Now, the eager athlete may be forced to miss the opportunity.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) cannabis was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances for meeting the criteria of posing a health risk to athletes, having the potential to enhance performance and it violating the spirit of sport.
“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels; hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her,” said Travis Tygart, chief executive of USADA, in a statement.
According to the memo, Richardson tested positive based on a sample collected at a competition for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on June 19, 2021. As a result, the former Louisiana State University athlete was disqualified and forfeited any medals, points, and prizes won during the trials.
On July 1, ahead of the official statement from the USADA, Richardson simply tweeted “I am human” with no mention of the failed drug test.
I am human
— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) July 1, 2021
On Friday (July 2), Richardson opened up on Good Morning America about the drug test, taking ownership, and issuing a promise to supporters, family, and friends.
The athlete shared her reasoning for using marijuana despite knowing the implication. Richardson revealed how a few days before the Olympic trial, a reporter broke informed her about the death of her biological during an interview. She called the moment “triggering” and “shocking” to hear that information from a complete stranger.
“In some type of way, I was just trying to hide my pain,” she said. “I want to take responsibility for my actions. I’m not looking for an excuse.
“I’d like o my fans and my family and my sponsorship…the haters, too. I apologize. As much as I’m disappointed, I know that when I step on the track I represent myself. I represent a community that has shown me great support and great love…I apologize for the fact that I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions,” she said. “Like I tweeted yesterday, I’m human…I’m like you, I just happen to run a little faster.”
She ended the vulnerable interview with optimism.
“This will be the last time Olympics doesn’t see Sha’Carri Richardson, and this will be the U.S. doesn’t come home with the gold medal in the 100,” she asserted.
Richardson continued, “This is just one game. I’m 21. I’m very young. Unlike most, I have plenty of games left in me to compete in, and I have plenty of talent that backs me up…After my sanction is up, I’ll be back and able to compete.”
The USA Track & Field governing agent issued an official statement through their website. It reads as follows:
“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.”