Olympic sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was disqualified from the Tokyo Games after failing a drug test.
Her results tested positive for THC, a chemical in marijuana. The US Anti-Doping Association (USADA) prohibits athletes from using marijuana because, “Based on current animal and human studies as well as on interviews with athletes and information from the field, cannabis can be performance enhancing for some athletes and sports disciplines.”
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In a report concerning Richardson’s case, they wrote, she “accepted a one-month suspension—as permitted under the applicable international rules—for an anti-doping rule violation for testing positive for a substance of abuse.” The sprinter completed a “counseling program regarding her use of cannabis” thereby lessening her suspension from three months to one. The maximum suspension for marijuana usage is two years and the minimum is one month.
In an interview, Richardson said, “I want to take responsibility for my actions. I’m not looking for an excuse.” She continued, “I would like to say to my fans and my family and my sponsorship, to the haters, too, I apologize. 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.”
She noted that her use of marijuana was her way to cope with the recent passing of her biological mother. Richardson was informed by a reporter of her mother’s death, she said, “It sent me into a state of emotional panic. I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time.”