So scrolling up and down the USA Track & Field website there is not a hint of an image of Sha’Carri Richardson. There’s everybody else but the winner of the 100 meters at the 2021 USATF Olympic Track & Field Trials. Small wonder.
Published reports that came out July 1 indicated that Richardson, who proclaimed to be “that girl” in representing the United States at the Tokyo Olympics, had tested positive for a reported banned substance. Not good. It’s not good for the 21-year-old Richardson, who is just starting to become the face of American sprint.
It is also not so glamorous look for the United States to have one of its premier runners to crash and burn of an alleged failed drug test right on the cusp of the biggest international sport celebration in the world. If things do play out as indicated, Richardson could miss the Summer Games altogether. She is definitely out of the 100 meters.
USATF release a statement about the matter on July 2, a day after news broke that Richardson had tested positive for weed.
“Sha’Carri Richardson’s situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved. 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 USATF statement read.
Coincidentally, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) came out with a statement of their own as they explained the failed test by Richardson. Richardson was hit with a one-month ban as a result of her tainted June 19 test sample that was retrieved during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
“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 T. Tygart.
Richardson’s suspension began June 28. The ban is just one-half of Richardson’s problems. It is not automatic that she’ll be participating in the Tokyo Olympics. That will be up to the guidelines set forth by USA Track & Field and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee once her 30-day suspension wraps up.
Richardson tested positive for using Carboxy-THC, which is considered to be a “substance of abuse,” since it is often used outside of the context of sport competition, according to the USADA. Also, according to the USADA, cannabis, marijuana, and hashish are banned substances U.S.under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing policy.
And so because of all of this, everything that Richardson achieved at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials is simply not allowable since she has been disqualified or deemed ineligible. Former Oregon star Jenna Prandini, who finished fourth in the 100 at the team trials, will now be the third American representative for Team USA instead of Richardson.
Richardson, who starred at LSU before turning pro, has developed into a true personality, emerging from track and field circles as track and field’s next great superstar. She clocked 10.72 seconds this season and looked to be a real threat to win the 100 meters in Tokyo.
Those aspirations look like they will be halted for a short period if bans, suspensions, and appeals come into play. Whatever way it goes, this appears to be a mess that USATF didn’t plan for. Not only is Richardson’s alleged failed drug test a kick in the gut for other American athletes, but it is also a black eye for the sport of track and field.
Featured Image Caption: June 19, 2021-American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson runs through the tape at the finish line of the women’s 100 meters during the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Photo by Tim Healy for TrackTown USA
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, MLB, racial and social justice, civil rights, and HBCUs. Dennis earned a journalism degree from “The Mecca” aka Howard University. “I write on what I am passionate about.”