U.S. track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson will miss the 100-meter race at the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo after failing a drug test, but it is still unclear if she will miss later Olympic events that take place after her suspension ends.
Richardson accepted a one-month suspension after she tested positive for THC following her win in the women’s 100-meter event at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon. She had won the race with a time of 10.86, earning her a spot on the U.S. team where she had been among the favorites to take home the gold. Richardson joined the Today show on Friday morning where she apologized and explained how the recent loss of her biological mother had caused her to make a wrong decision.
“I want to take responsibility for my actions,” she said on Today. “I know what I did. I know what I'm supposed to do, [what] I'm allowed not to do and I still made that decision, but not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case.”
Richardson revealed the death of her mother played heavily in her recent decision-making, describing the loss as “one of the biggest things that impacted me” and how difficult it was to “put on a face and have to go out in front of people.”
She had hinted at the development Thursday in a cryptic post to Twitter.
“Like I tweeted yesterday, I'm human,” she said today on Today. “We are human, I want to be as transparent as possible with you guys whether it's good, whether it's bad.”
“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,” Travis T. Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
The USADA, which is responsible for ensuring compliance with the existing international rules regarding doping and banned substances, said in a statement Richardson would forfeit all results from the trials last month, including her victory in the 100-meter event.
“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,” the USADA said. “Beyond the one-month sanction, athlete eligibility for the Tokyo Games is determined by the USOPC and/or USA Track & Field eligibility rules.”
Some sources are reporting Richardson may still be able to compete in events that take place after her one-month suspension ends. It is unclear if she would still have a place on the team if her wins in qualifying events were forfeited.
Richardson represented the best chance for the U.S. to take home gold in the signature women’s 100-meter event for the first time in decades. She also won headlines for her outgoing personality and vibrant fashion and hair choices. Following her victory in Eugene last month, she posted a rainbow emoji to Twitter and thanked her girlfriend for the hair color choice for the race.
Her mood was significantly dampened on Friday, however.
“I failed y’all so I apologize,” Richardson said.