Sha’Carri Richardson Will Miss Tokyo Olympics After Being Left Off Relay Team

Sha’Carri Richardson was not selected for the U.S. relay team, per NBC News. She is not listed on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field roster of athletes set to compete in Tokyo after failing a drug test.

By Lindsay Weinberg Jul 06, 2021 11:24 PMTags

Sha'Carri Richardson won't be heading to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics

The U.S. sprinter, 21, was not included in the U.S. Olympic Track & Field roster of athletes set to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, taking place from July 23 to August 8. 

According to NBC News, she was not selected for the U.S. 4x100 meter relay team, despite winning the 100 meter race during the Olympic trials in June. She faced a one-month ban after testing positive for marijuana, which violates the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code. Last week, the United States Anti-Doping Agency confirmed she was suspended following the drug test.

USA Track & Field said in a statement that Richardson will not be given a shortened suspension, which would allow her to compete later this month. 

"While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games," the group said, per NBC News.

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In a written statement to Reuters, USATF added, "We are incredibly sympathetic toward Sha'Carri Richardson's extenuating circumstances and strongly applaud her accountability - and will offer her our continued support both on and off the track." 

As for Richardson, she simply tweeted "I am human" on July 1.

Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The next day, she spoke out during an interview on the Today show, sharing, "I want to take responsibility for my actions... I know what I did, I know what I'm supposed to do, I know what I'm allowed not to do, and I still made that decision." 

Richardson explained that she turned to cannabis after learning from a reporter that her biological mom had died, just one week before the Olympic trials in Oregon. She went into a state of "emotional panic," she said, adding, "It's definitely triggering."

The Nike athlete admitted she was "just blinded by emotions, blinded by bad news, blinded by just hurting." 

She went on to apologize to her supporters, saying, "I would like to say to my friends, to my family, to my sponsorship—to the haters too, I apologize... As much as I'm disappointed, I know that when I step on the track, I don't represent myself. I represent a community that has shown me great support, great love."

Richardson later took to Twitter to connect with fans that had hoped she'd be able to participate despite the drug rules. "I'm sorry, I can't be y'all Olympic Champ this year but I promise I'll be your World Champ next year," she wrote, while telling the "negative" social media users to "enjoy the games because we all know it won't be the same." 

This year's track and field roster includes 81 first-time Olympians and 13 defending medalists from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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