American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who won the hearts of millions of sports fans, lost her chance to shine at this year's U.S. Olympics after she tested positive for cannabis.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency confirmed Friday that Richardson has accepted a one-month suspension by which the results of her Olympics trials have been "disqualified, and she forfeits any medals, points, and prizes" as allowed under the international anti-doping regulations.
The 21-year-old Richardson had qualified with a 10.86-second 100m dash, which would have made her a gold medal contender until the test results, which came after the race, reported Reuters.
The positive test result also means that all of Richardson's results from the trials are wiped out, voiding her victory in the 100m final.
Richardson's suspension period was reduced to one month because her cannabis consumption occurred out of competition and did not affect her performance. She also completed a counseling program.
Aside from the one-month sanction, Richardson's eligibility for the Tokyo Olympics is considered by the USOPC and/or USA Track & Field eligibility rules.
In an interview on NBC’s Today Show, Richardson, who lost her mother a week ago, told Savannah Guthrie that she wanted to take responsibility for her actions. “I know what I did, I know what I am supposed to do…and I still made that decision.”
Blinded By Her Pain
Several days before the race and the trials, Richardson found out from a reporter that her biological mother had passed away. She said the horrible news sent her into a “state of emotional panic.”
She said it was the trigger, after which she was “blinded by emotions, blinded by bad news, blinded by hurting…hiding hurt.”
Richardson also talked about the pressure she'd been dealing with as a sports celebrity and the stress of constantly being under public scrutiny. “I was trying to hide my pain.”
When asked about whether there was still a chance she'd still make it to the Olympics for at least part of the relay, Richardson said that right now she is just focusing on herself and on healing, but would definitely take it as a blessing if she was able to compete.
To her fans, family, and sponsors, Richardson said: “I apologize for not knowing how to control my emotions.”
She referred to a Tweet she sent out after the news broke in which she simply wrote: “I am human.”
After apologizing once again to her fans, family and sponsors, she added that this would be the last time she does not come home from the Olympics carrying the gold.
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