U.S. track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson has accepted a one-month doping ban after testing positive for cannabis.
USADA announced the news on Friday just hours after it broke Richardson could miss the Olympics due to a failed drug test.
Richardson tested positive for cannabis after her appearances at Olympic trials and USADA confirmed she had undergone the necessary steps to get her suspension reduced.
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“USADA announced today that Sha’Carri Richardson, of Clermont, Fla., an athlete in the sport of track and field, has accepted a one-month suspension—as permitted under the applicable international rules—for an anti-doping rule violation for testing positive for a substance of abuse,” a statement read.
“In this case, Richardson accepted a one-month period of ineligibility that began on June 28, 2021, the date of her provisional suspension.
“Richardson’s period of ineligibility was reduced to one month because her use of cannabis occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance, and because she successfully completed a counseling program regarding her use of cannabis.
“Her one-month period of ineligibility—the minimum allowed under the rules—is the same result as the two other Substance of Abuse cases that USADA has handled since the 2021 Code took effect.
“Richardson’s competitive results obtained on June 19, 2021, including her Olympic qualifying results at the Team Trials, have been disqualified, and she forfeits any medals, points, and prizes. Beyond the one-month sanction, athlete eligibility for the Tokyo Games is determined by the USOPC and/or USA Track & Field eligibility rules.”
The decision confirms Richardson will be unable to run in the 100m – where she was favourite to win the gold – but could still take part in the relay.
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Speaking on the Today Show, Richardson said she had accepted her ban and apologised to her fans.
“Right now I’m just putting all my time and energy into dealing what I need to deal with to heal myself. If I’m allowed to receive that blessing then I’m grateful for it,” she said.
I would like to see my fans, to my friends, to my family, to my sponsorship, to the haters too – I apologise. I’m disappointed.
“I know when I step out on that track I don’t just represent myself, I represent my community that has shown me great support and great love.
Sha'Carri Richardson could miss the Olympics after reportedly returning a positive cannabis test
Image credit: Getty Images
“I apologise for the fact I need to know how to control my emotions. I’m human, we’re human. I want to be as transparent as possible.
“Whether it’s good or bad, but when it comes to Sha’Carri Richardson it’s never been a steroid and there will never be a steroid attached to the name Sha’Carri Richardson. The charge was marijuana.
Don’t judge me, because I’m human. I’m you. I just happen to run a little faster. There’s going to be people who have something to say who don’t necessarily understand and I wouldn’t even call them haters.
“If they want to show their character even after I’ve said what I’ve said and putting myself out there. Then that’s on you and you have to live with that. I greatly appreciate being able to tell my side of the story.
“Like I said to my fans, my family, the sponsorship, the haters – I greatly apologise if I let you guys down and I did,” she added.
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“I just want to let you all know this will be the last time the Olympics don’t see Sha’Carri Richardson and this will be the last time the U.S. doesn’t come home with a goal medal in the 100m.”
Asked if she intended to continue running, Richardson was adamant the ban was just a set-back.
“I’m 21, I’m still very young,” she replied. “Unlike many I have plenty of Games left in me and plenty of talent to back me up. Everything I do comes from me naturally. No steroids or anything. This incident was about marijuana.”
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