Star Team USA Runner Faces One-Month Suspension Over Failed Drug Test

Jeremy BeamanJuly 3, 20215min
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A Team USA track and field star faces a one-month suspension of eligibility and might completely miss the Tokyo Olympics after she failed a drug test.

Sha’Carri Richardson’s trip to Tokyo was compromised after she tested positive for marijuana use, the United States Anti-Doping Agency said Friday. Her first-place finish of 10.86 seconds in the 100-meter race at the Olympic trials in June has been vacated as a result of the suspension, and she forfeits any medals, points, and prizes she had won.

“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,” said USADA CEO Travis Tygart in a statement.

A typical violation of the USADA’s “substance of abuse” rules warrants a three-month suspension if the athlete confirms the substance use was unrelated to performance in competition, the group said, but a sanctioned athlete may receive a reduced one-month suspension if he or she completes a treatment program approved by USADA.

“I am human,” Richardson wrote Thursday on Twitter, apparently addressing the suspension.

Richardson was “not making an excuse or looking for any empathy,” but she said her use of marijuana was a means of coping with her mother’s recent death.

“To put on a face and go out in front of the world and hide my pain, who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with pain and struggles you’ve never had to experience before?” Richardson said, adding that she wanted to take responsibility for her actions.

“I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do,” Richardson said.

The disqualification of Richardson’s victory means Jenna Prandini, who scored a fourth-place finish at the trials, will move up to be one of the three Americans to run the women’s 100-meter in the games. Runners Javianne Oliver and Teahna Daniels, who scored second and third in the trials, will also compete.

Richardson could still compete in the games after her suspension concludes because eligibility is also determined by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Track and Field rules, USADA said.

USA Track and Field acknowledged Richardson’s situation, calling it “incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved,” but it did not reveal any details about whether the runner could still compete in the games.

“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,” the group said in a statement.

A spokesperson for USA Track and Field did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Author : Jeremy Beaman

Source : Washington Examiner : Star Team USA runner faces one-month suspension over failed drug test