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Sha’Carri Richardson suspended from US Olympic team after testing positive for marijuana

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American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson has reportedly failed a drug test that will result in the U.S. 100-meter champion missing that event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 21-year-old standout, who was expected to contend for a gold medal, tested positive for what is classified as a substance of abuse, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

Update 7/2 9:59 AM:

  • Urban Newsroom has learned that Sha’Carri Richardson will not be able to participate in the 100-meter event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 21-year-old standout, who was expected to contend for a gold medal, tested positive for marijuana at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. On Friday, Richardson accepted a one-month ban, retroactive to June 28, for failing the test.

“I want to take responsibility for my actions,” Richardson told NBC on Friday. “I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do and am allowed not to do, and I still made that decision. I’m not making an excuse. I’m not looking for any empathy in my case.”

  • According to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)’s rules on the matter, an athlete who tests positive for marijuana — or anything else they consider a “substance of abuse” — will receive a three-month sanction as long as it was “unrelated to sport performance.” Furthermore, the USADA states that if the athlete undergoes a treatment program, which Richardson did, that sanction can but cut down to one month.
  • Richardson admitted to NBC on Friday that she used marijuana in Oregon, a state in which the substance is legal, after the death of her biological mother. That happened just hours before the Olympic Trials kicked off.

“That sent me in a state of mind, in a state of emotional panic, if anything,” she said. “During all that, I still, even though I’m here, I still have to go out and put on a performance for my dream.”

What We Know:

  • A positive test result would disqualify her U.S. Olympic Trials performance, and she could be suspended from competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Richardson did not use steroids and is facing a 30-day suspension for testing positive for marijuana, according to Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
  • A 30-day suspension would force Richardson out of the 100 meters, it would end prior to the start of competition in the 4×100-meter relay, which she was expected to run. It is not yet known whether she would be qualified for that event.
  • Jenna Prandini, who finished fourth in the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials, would replace Richardson in the 100 meters if she is disqualified and/or suspended.
  • Richardson has not publicly addressed the reports of her failed drug test, though she vaguely tweeted Thursday.  Her tweet received monumentous support and critique. She withdrew from Sunday’s Diamond League meeting in Stockholm where she was scheduled to run the 200 meters.

  • Another American sprinter, 2018 U.4. 00m champion Kahmari Montgomery, tested positive for marijuana at the Miramar Invitational on April 10 and served a one-month ban from April 30 through May 29 after completing the treatment program.

Marijuana is now legal in 19 states thought it remains illegal at the Federal level.  Support for marijuana legalization has become mainstream among Democratic politicians, and some Republicans also back the idea. State legislatures are grappling with if and how to legalize the drug, while several marijuana-related bills – including those aiming to decriminalize it on the federal level – have been introduced in Congress.


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