2nd July 2021

Sha’Carri Richardson could still make US Olympic team despite ban

US 100m medal hope Sha’Carri Richardson could still compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, despite being sanctioned with a one month ban due to a positive test for THC, a metabolite of marijuana. Richardson returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) at the US Olympic Trials on 19 June, and was provisionally suspended on 28 June. Her one month ban will therefore expire on 28 July, but Round One of the women’s 100m doesn’t begin until 30 July.

‘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’, read a USADA statement announcing the sanction, which also indicated that the door is ajar for her to compete. ‘Beyond the one-month sanction, athlete eligibility for the Tokyo Games is determined by the USOPC and/or USA Track & Field eligibility rules’.

As Richardson’s 100m victory has been struck from the record, she technically hasn’t qualified to compete in the 100m. However, it is understood that she could still be selected for the 4x100m.

Sha’Carri Richardson’s situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved’, read a statement from USATF. ‘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’.

Richardson told The Today Show that she had used marijuana in Oregon, where it is legal, after learning that her biological mother had died. The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code classified marijuana as a ‘substance of abuse’ alongside cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), and heroin. If an athlete can establish that their use of these substances occurred in a context outside of sport and was unrelated to sport performance, they will receive a three month ban, reduced to one month if a substance abuse programme is completed. USADA’s statement outlined that Richardson has completed such a programme.

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