Sha’Carri Richardson, 21, must put her Olympic dreams on hold, as it was announced on July 6 that she won’t compete in the Tokyo games after she tested positive for marijuana four days prior. Sha’Carri came in first place during the women’s 100-meter run on June 19, but after testing positive for pot, she was given a one-month suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Now, USA Track & Field says that while it has sympathy for Sha’Carri, it has a responsibility to “maintain fairness for all of the athletes.”
“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 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games,” the organization said in the statement obtained by USA Today.
“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.”
After the news broke, Sha’Carri said she wasn’t really upset over it. “Honestly, that news didn’t bother me because me and my team were realistic, so we kind of figured that they would say that in the first place,” she told TMZ. Sha’Carri also said she’s doing “fine” and remaining positive. “I understand the situation that’s going on. So, I’m accepting of it, and I just know what I have to do moving forward in my career.”
Want to know more about Sha’Carri? Here are five things you should know about her.
Sha’Carri Has Won National Titles For Track And Field
Sha’Carri has been running competitively for six years. Her first major title came in 2016, when she came in first in the 100m race for the AAU Junior Olympics, according to the Louisiana State University Athletics Department. In 2019, she won the same competition at the NCAA Division I Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Olympic Trials were her most recent victory.
Sha’Carri also raced for Louisiana State University. As a college freshman in 2019, she broke the 100m dash record at the NCAA championships by running it in 10.75 seconds, according to World Athletics. She topped herself in April 2021 by running a 10.72 second 100m race, making her the sixth fastest woman in the world, via World Athletics.
Sha’Carri’s Girlfriend Decided Her Hair Color For The Olympic Trials
Sha’Carri was eye-catching during the Olympic Trials. The athlete dyed her hair bright orange, and it flew behind her, making it look like she was literally burning down the track. Sha’Carri’s girlfriend picked the color, because it was “loud and vibrant” and “spoke to her,” as the perfect pick for the event. “That’s who I am. She just wanted me to be able to make a statement — let’s continue to show the world I’m a force to be reckoned with,” Sha’Carri told The Washington Post in an interview after her race. Sha’Carri hasn’t revealed her partner’s name yet.
Sha’Carri Could Have Still Competed In The Olympics
Unfortunately, Sha’Carri’s suspension has seemingly wiped her Olympic Trial victory and robbed her of her chances of competing in the 100m race in Tokyo, according to The New York Times. But despite the marijuana suspension, U.S.A. Track And Field could have allowed her to participate in the 4×100 relay race. In 2017, Sha’Carri did compete in in the 4x100m relay with the U.S. team at the U20 Pan American Championships, where she and her team came in first place, via World Athletics.
Sha’Carri Used Marijuana As A Coping Mechanism
Sha’Carri’s biological mother died a few days prior to the race at the Olympic Trials in Oregon (where pot is legal), and the runner found out about the death from a reporter asking her about it. She told TODAY that learning about her mother’s passing from a journalist sent her into “a state of emotional panic,” as you can see from her interview with Savannah Guthrie below. Sha’Carri apologized for using marijuana. “I know what I’m supposed to do, and I know what I’m allowed not to do, and I still made that decision. I’m not making an excuse,” she said. “Who am I to tell you how to cope? Who am I to tell you that you’re wrong for hurting?” She also tweeted, seeming like she was vaguely referencing the controversy. “I am human,” she wrote.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2021
Celebs Thought Sha’Carri Should Have Been Allowed To Compete
Plenty of stars offered their support to Sha’Carri after news of her suspension broke. Actress Gabrielle Union tweeted to “Let her run,” because weed isn’t a performance-enhancing drug for running. NFL player Odell Beckham Jr. responded to Sha’Carri’s tweet to call the suspension “bulls**t.” Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness also tweeted to show that he thought the suspension was ridiculous. “This prohibition has f**ked up so many peoples lives I just can’t even,” he wrote.
USATF Statement regarding Sha’Carri Richardson
— USATF (@usatf) July 2, 2021
Even U.S.A. Track And Field tweeted that the organization was sad to hear about Sha’Carri, just after the suspension news broke. “Sha’Carri Richardson’s situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved. Athlete health and well-being continue to be one of USATF’s most critical priorities and we will work with Sha’Carri to ensure she has ample resources to overcome any mental health challenges now and in the future,” it said in a statement.