It is a sad day for the US track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson after she was handed over suspension for one month from the Olympic team after testing positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced on Friday.
USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart in a press release said “The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels; hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her.”
Richardson had booked her spot at the Tokyo Olympics with a runaway victory in the women’s 100m at the US Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon last month. Due to the positive test, her Olympic trials results were automatically disqualified and she will not be allowed to participate in her signature 100m race at the Tokyo Olympics later this month.
It’s unclear whether Richardson will miss the Games altogether. Sha Carri may still be eligible to compete in another event besides the 100m, such as the 4x100m relay.
Friday’s USADA statement reads: “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.”
Sha’Carri Richardson Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation
The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code newly classifies THC as a “Substance of Abuse” because it is frequently used in society outside the context of sport. If an athlete who tests positive for a Substance of Abuse establishes that their use of the substance occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance, the athlete will receive a three-month sanction. However, if the athlete satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment program approved by USADA, the sanction may be further reduced to one month.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.