US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson has accepted a one-month suspension after testing positive for cannabis, ruling her out of the women’s 100 metres at the Tokyo Olympics.
- Richardson returned a positive doping test at the US Olympic trials
- Cannabis is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency
- Richardson was set to be one of the gold medal favourites in Tokyo
But Richardson may yet be able to run in the women’s 4x100m relay event later in the Tokyo track and field program.
The positive doping test came at the US Olympic trials last month in Eugene, Oregon where Richardson confirmed herself as a gold medal contender by winning the 100m in 10.86 seconds.
Richardson said in an Interview on NBC’s Today Show in the US that the positive test came during the trials while she was dealing with the news of the death of her mother.
“Like I tweeted yesterday, I’m human,” she said.
“We are human, I want to be as transparent as possible with you guys whether it’s good, whether it’s bad.
“But when it comes to Sha’Carri Richardson there will never be a steroid attached to the name Sha’Carri Richardson. The charge and what the situation was marijuana.”
Richardson accepted a 30-day suspension, which ends on July 27.
The ban, backdated to the time of the adverse result, could leave Richardson clear to race in the women’s 4x100m relay at the Olympics in the first week of August, if she is selected by USA Track and Field (USATF).
While not weighing in on her prospects for the relay, USATF released a statement that said her “situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved”.
Richardson said if she was allowed to run in the relay she would be “grateful, but if not, I’m just going to focus on myself”.
United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive Travis Tygart said he hoped Richardson would learn from her behaviour.
“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels,” he said in a USADA statement.
“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 what could have been a three-month sanction reduced to one month because she participated in a counseling program.
The 21-year-old was expected to face Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in one of the most highly anticipated races of the Olympic track and field program.
Richardson was aiming to become the first American woman to win the Olympic 100m title since Gail Devers in 1996 after posting a time of 10.72 in April.
That performance has her ranked second in the world on times behind Fraser-Pryce, a two-time Olympic 100m champion.
Jenna Prandini, who finished fourth in the 100m at the US Olympic trials, is expected to get Richardson’s spot in the event in Tokyo.