Sha’Carri Richardson won’t be on the US Olympics team following suspension for marijuana use

Sha'Carri Richardson looks on after winning the Women's 100 Meter final on day 2 of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials
Sha’Carri Richardson has said she took marijuana after learning of the death of her biological mother. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
  • Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson will be excluded from the US relay team at the Tokyo Olympics.
  • USA Track & Field suspended Richardson after she tested positive for a chemical found in marijuana.
  • The USATF said THC-related rules should be reevaluated, but not weeks before the Olympics.
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Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson will be left off the US relay team at the Tokyo Olympics after she was handed a one-month suspension by USA Track & Field for marijuana use.

Richardson, 21, tested positive for THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, at the US Olympic Team Trials, where she finished first in the 100-meter race and became one of the fastest women in America. She said she took marijuana after she learned from a reporter that her biological mother died.

“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,” USATF said 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 US Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games.”

“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,” the organization continued. “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 US Olympic Track and Field Team.”

In an interview with NBC’s “Today Show” after testing positive for THC, Richardson said it was “definitely triggering” and “nerve-shocking” to learn from a reporter that her biological mother had died, and that the question “put me in a state of mind of emotional panic.”

“I’m not making an excuse or looking for empathy in my case,” she said. “However, being in that position in my life, finding out something like that … Dealing with the relationship I have with my mother, that definitely was a very heavy topic on me.”