American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who recently claimed victory during the Women’s 100-meter at the U.S. trials in Oregon last month, has tested positive for marijuana Reuters reports. Because of the results of the positive test, her time at the trials will be voided and she may be disqualified from participating in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Anonymously, the suspension was confirmed by at least two people who have access to the test results but lack authority to speak about the matter according to the New York Times.
It is unclear if Richardson will appeal the test result and the disqualification, or how long her suspension could possibly be.
When Richardson’s failed drug test became known, representatives from the U.S.A. Track & Field contacted other women who competed in the 100-meter trials. Several runners have been told that they have moved up to the next slot as the official final standings have been rearranged, a source said.
After placing fourth in the trials, Jenna Prandini will now be added as one of the three American women who will compete in the 100 in Tokyo. Also, Gabby Thomas, who finished fifth at the trials, was named as an alternate for the race, according to the source.
If Richardson is banned for a month, her suspension could be backdated so that it would begin at the time of her positive test at the trials, which would allow her to return to competition just before the Olympics, which begin on July 23. Track and field events at the Games begin on July 30, but on that day, the first qualifying rounds in the women’s 100 are scheduled.
Testing positive for marijuana can carry up to a two-year-long suspension. At a minimum, the suspension could be reduced to 30 days if an athlete can provide evidence that their marijuana use was unrelated to sports performance and they agree to take a substance abuse treatment program. If Richardson’s ban is backdated to when she tested positive, she may be eligible to compete in the Women’s 4X100-meter relay competition at the discretion of the USATF.
On Thursday, Richardson wrote on Twitter, “I am human.”
In an interview with NBC this morning, Richardson, who was raised by her grandmother, blamed her marijuana usage during the Olympic trials in Oregon as a way to cope with the recent unexpected passing of her biological mother. Richardson, said she learn of her mother's death from a reporter during an interview. She said the news was "nerve-shocking."
"It sent me into a state of emotional panic. I didn't know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time," she said.
Richardson apologized, by saying "I greatly apologize if I let you guys down, and I did."
TODAY exclusive: Sha’Carri Richardson speaks out about failing drug test ahead of Olympicshttps://t.co/mxa7rZssuz— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2021
Richardson also said that she would be "grateful" for the chance to compete in the Tokyo Olympic relay events, if given the chance, but is not focused on doing so.
"Right now, I’m just putting all of my time and energy into dealing with what I need to do, which is heal myself," she told NBC's TODAY. "So if I’m allowed to receive that blessing, then I’m grateful for it, but if not, right now I’m going to just focus on myself."