Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson Denied Spot On US Olympics Team


Sha’Carri Richardson was denied a spot on the U.S. Olympics team after failing to pass a drug test and receiving a 30-day suspension.

The International Olympic Committee suspended Richardson, a sprinter, after she admitted to smoking marijuana to cope with her mother’s recent death. After a week of uncertainty, she was not placed on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field roster for the Tokyo Olympic Games released on Tuesday.

“First and foremost, we are incredibly sympathetic toward Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstances and strongly applaud her accountability — and will offer her our continued support both on and off the track,” said USA Track & Field, the U.S. national governing body for the sports of track and field, cross country running, road running and racewalking, in a statement. “While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games … So while our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams by securing a place on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team.”

Richardson, a 21-year-old who won the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field trials last month, was issued the suspension by the IOC on Thursday for violating its cannabis policy after she tested positive for THC. She would have been cleared in time for the 4×100 meter relay, but she was not offered a spot on the team.

“While we are heartbroken, the USOPC is steadfast in its commitment to clean competition and it supports the anti-doping code,” the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said in a July 2 statement following Richardson’s positive drug test. “A positive test for any banned substance comes with consequences and we are working with USATF to determine the appropriate next steps. We are dedicated to providing Sha’Carri the support services she needs during this difficult time.”

Among those who voiced support for the suspended athlete was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use.”

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, a member of the liberal “Squad” along with Ocasio-Cortez, also shared support for Richardson, telling her, “Keep your head up.”

Others expressed incredulity that Richardson was suspended for her marijuana use while transgender New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will compete in the Tokyo Olympics against biological women.

“WTF??? You’re telling me weed is somehow ‘performance enhancing’ but being born and living most of your life as a dude and then competing against women isn’t? Total bulls***!!!” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Friday.

Richardson took responsibility for the failed drug test, acknowledging the use of cannabis was against the rules.

“I want to take responsibility for my actions,” she said. “I know what I did, I know what I’m supposed to do … and I still made that decision.”

The Tokyo Olympic games, originally scheduled for 2020 but delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, are now set to occur from July 23 to Aug. 8.

Author: Carly Roman, Associate News Editor

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