INDIANAPOLIS — Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who was suspended after testing positive for a chemical found in marijuana, was left off the U.S. Olympic relay team and will not compete in the Tokyo Games.
Richardson, 21, won the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field Olympic trials in Oregon last month, The New York Times reported. However, a doping violation resulted in a one-month suspension that kept her out of the individual event.
In a statement, USA Track & Field said that while it has sympathy for Richardson, it also has an obligation to “maintain fairness for all of the athletes.”
“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,” the organization said in its statement. “All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances.”
Richardson accepted the one-month suspension that began June 28, officials with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Friday in a statement.
Her 30-day suspension ends before the Aug. 5 relay race, which left the door open for Richardson to participate. However, the USATF left Richardson’s name off the final roster, according to The Associated Press.
Kaylin Whitney and Lynna Irby were already members of the U.S. team’s 4x100 women’s squad. English Gardner and Aleia Hobbs, who were next in line based on their finishes at the Olympic trials, round out the relay pool, according to a statement from USA Track & Field on Tuesday.
Richardson admitted to ingesting marijuana before the Olympic trials. She tested positive for a chemical found in marijuana after her victory on June 19. She said she used marijuana after learning in an interview with a reporter that her biological mother had died.
“I want to take responsibility for my actions,” she said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. “I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what I’m allowed not to do, and I still made that decision.”
The Olympics begin on July 23, and the women’s 100-meter competition is scheduled to begin on July 30.
Richardson was projected as a favorite in the 100 meters in Tokyo, along with Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who is a two-time Olympic champion and four-time world champion in the event, The Orange County Register reported.
Richardson was attempting to become the first American woman to win the Olympic 100-meter title since Gail Devers in 1996, ESPN reported.
She was projected as a favorite in the 100 meters in Tokyo, along with Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who is a two-time Olympic champion and four-time world champion in the event, the Register reported.
Richardson’s agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, told the AP that he and Richardson had not spoken about the USATF’s decision.
“It was actually not a topic we focused on,” Nehemiah said.
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