Why can’t Sha’Carri Richardson compete in the 2021 Olympics?
Sha’Carri Richardson has become a fan favorite in track & field. After winning the women’s 100m Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon last month, Richardson was on track to become a sensation at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
Her record time put her on the way to become the new Usain Bolt, possibly becoming the fastest female athlete ever seen.
But all that progress is now in jeopardy. Richardson has been suspended for one month after she failed the Olympics’ anti-doping test because it detected high amounts of THC, the chemical found in cannabis.
The suspension caused Richardson to miss the chance of winning the gold medal in the 100m — and the chance of being the new lightning — so we’ll tell you today why Sha’Carri Richardson can’t compete in the 2021 Olympics.
Richardson’s results ‘disqualified’
The positive anti-doping result came back on June 28th and was made public on July 1st. And the test put a big dent in Richardson’s Olympic participation.
Right after the results were made public, the United States Anti-Doping Agency released the following statement: “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.”
With that, Richardson lost the chance of running the women’s 100m dash in the Tokyo Olympics, as well as the victory she obtained in the track & field trials.
Counseling reduced Richardson’s suspension
The use of THC by athletes as a cause for an anti-doping-related suspension is something relatively new.
As of 2021, where the marijuana chemical was classified as a “substance of abuse”, athletes who get caught using THC in their anti-doping tests usually get a three-month suspension if they’re able to “establish that their use of the substance occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance.”
The case of Sha’Carri Richardson was different. If an athlete who tested positive for THC use goes through a counseling program, the USADA can reduce the suspension for just one month. Richardson went through that counseling and completed the program successfully.
Despite the frustration for the suspension, Richardson took responsibility and apologized to her fans on news outlets and on social media.
During an interview for NBC News on July 2nd, Richardson said she was putting all her energy into dealing with healing herself, and she wanted to take responsibility for actions and wasn’t looking for an excuse.
Richardson also apologized to her fans, saying: “I would like to say to my fans and my family and my sponsorship, to the haters, too, I apologize”. And she added: “As much as I’m disappointed, I know that when I step on that track, I don’t represent myself, I represent a community that has shown me great support, great love.”
Richardson’s mother’s death
Although it’s speculation, many fans pointed to a recent loss as a reason for Richardson’s THC use.
Right after finishing the race, she was seen hugging her grandmother Betty Harp on the stands after the victory that put her in the 2021 Olympics, prompting viewers to ask where her mother was. Richardson then revealed to an NBC Sports reporter that she lost her mother one week before the Olympic trials.
In an interview, Richardson said she learned about the passing of her mom through a reporter, adding that the news was “triggering” & “shocking”. However, she also said that she would “still have to go out and put out a performance”, adding that she was trying to hide her pain.
4x100m relay still possible
While Richardson won’t participate in the 100m, her participation in the 2021 Olympics is still possible.
As her suspension is set to expire during the games, Richardson can still be part of the 4×100-meter relay since the competition in that category is scheduled to start on August 5th. That date would allow the twenty-one-year-old sprinter to take part in the 2021 Olympics track & field tournament.
Sha’Carri Richardson ran the 100 meters in 10.86 seconds, adding hopes that she would repeat the 1996 Olympics when Gail Devers was the last U.S. female sprinter to win a gold medal in the women’s 100m.
What do you think of Sha’Carri’s suspension? Was it fair? Let us know in the comments.