The American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who was set for a star flip on the Tokyo Olympics this month, may miss the Games after testing optimistic for marijuana.
Richardson, 21, gained the ladies’s 100-meter race on the U.S. monitor and area trials in Oregon final month, however her optimistic check mechanically invalidated her lead to that marquee occasion.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency introduced the optimistic check outcome Friday morning, and mentioned Richardson had accepted a suspension of 1 month, beginning on June 28. That may clear her in time to run within the 4×100 meter relay that takes place later within the Games — if she is called to the U.S. crew.
In an interview with NBC on Friday, Richardson blamed the optimistic check on her use of marijuana as a manner to deal with the sudden loss of life of her organic mom whereas she was in Oregon for the Olympic trials. Richardson, who was raised by her grandmother, mentioned she discovered in regards to the loss of life from a reporter throughout an interview and referred to as it triggering and “definitely nerve-shocking.”
“It sent me into a state of emotional panic,” she mentioned, including, “I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time.”
She apologized to her followers, her household and her sponsors, saying, “I greatly apologize if I let you guys down, and I did.”
U.S.A. Track & Field has notified different girls who competed within the 100-meter closing on the trials in regards to the failed drug check, based on two folks with direct information of the knowledge, and a number of other runners have been informed that they’ve moved up a spot within the closing standings.
Jenna Prandini, who positioned fourth on the trials, has been notified that she’s going to now be one of many three American girls working the 100 in Tokyo, and Gabby Thomas, who completed fifth on the trials, was named as an alternate for the race, the folks mentioned.
Richardson will probably be eligible to return to competitors simply earlier than the monitor and area occasions on the Games start on July 30. That day’s schedule consists of the primary qualifying rounds within the girls’s 100, an occasion that now will occur with out her.
Early Thursday afternoon, Richardson cryptically tweeted, “I am human.” And on NBC on Friday, she expanded on that thought.
“I just say, don’t judge me and I am human — I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster,” she mentioned, including that she expects some folks to criticize her marijuana use. “They don’t necessarily understand, and I wouldn’t even call them haters.”
While Richardson’s suspension will probably be over by the point the Olympic monitor and area competitors begins, the optimistic check erased her Olympic trials efficiency within the girls’s 100, that means she is not going to run within the occasion. Unlike the Olympic choice processes of another nations, U.S.A. Track & Field’s procedures go away little room for discretion over who qualifies. They dictate that the highest three finishers in a given occasion on the trials qualify for the Olympics, supplied their performances attain the Olympic commonplace.
It is feasible that Richardson may nonetheless compete within the 4×100-meter relay even when she is dominated out of the person race. The determination could be as much as U.S.A. Track & Field, the nationwide governing physique of the game.
Up to 6 athletes are chosen for the nation’s relay pool, and 4 of them have to be the highest three finishers within the 100 meters on the Olympic trials and the alternate. The governing physique names the remaining two members of the relay pool.
In a statement, U.S.A. Track & Field said Richardson’s situation “is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved,” but made no mention of whether or how she would compete at the Olympics.
Renaldo Nehemiah, Richardson’s agent, did not respond on Thursday to a phone call or a text message.
Marijuana is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances. Both USADA and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee are signatories to the WADA code, meaning they follow its rules.
“While we are heartbroken, the USOPC is steadfast in its commitment to clean competition and it supports the anti-doping code,” the organization said in a statement Friday morning. “A positive test for any banned substance comes with consequences and we are working with the USATF to determine the appropriate next steps. We are dedicated to providing Sha’Carri the support services she needs during this difficult time.”
Marijuana is banned only during in-competition periods, which are defined as beginning at 11:59 p.m. on the day before a competition and ending at its conclusion. Athletes may have up to 150 nanograms per milliliter of THC, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, without causing a positive test.
According to USADA, marijuana is a prohibited substance because it can enhance performance, it poses a health risk to athletes and its use violates the spirit of the 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,” Travis Tygart, chief executive of USADA, said Friday in an emailed statement.
A suspension for testing positive for marijuana can be up to two years. The minimum length is a month, if an athlete can prove the use of marijuana was not related to sports performance and if the person completes a substance abuse treatment program. Just last month USADA suspended Kahmari Montgomery, a sprinter, for one month after he tested positive for marijuana.
Richardson’s positive test came about a week before the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee needs to submit the names of its athletes competing in Tokyo. And Richardson was not only supposed to be one of them, but also was expected to be one of the most recognizable Olympians, at least by the end of the Games.
She dominated the opening weekend of the trials, drawing attention for her scintillating performances, her long orange hair (“to make sure that I’m visible and being seen,” she said) and an emotional moment when she sprinted into the stands to hug her grandmother.
Her victory in 10.86 seconds made her an instant favorite to win the gold medal in Tokyo and set up a highly anticipated showdown at the Olympics with the Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won the 100 at the last world championships. Richardson ran the second-fastest 100 this year, behind Fraser-Pryce, and in April ran the sixth-fastest time ever.
“This will be the last time the U.S. doesn’t come home with a gold medal in the 100,” Richardson said to NBC.