21-year-old, Sha’Carri Richardson, has been suspended from competing in this year’s Olympic 100-meter race after testing positive for marijuana.
According to the US Anti-Doping Agency, Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension began on June 28 and was reduced to one month because her cannabis use occurred outside of competition and was unrelated to her performance at the 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,” commented USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart.
Richardson admitted to consuming marijuana in Oregon, where the Olympics Trials took place this year. In July 2016, Oregon legalized recreational cannabis use and possession for people aged 21 and up.
Several critics, including elected officials, have voiced their discernment for the suspension of Richardson.
NY Congressman Jamaal Bowen wrote, “There is no need for Sha’Carri to apologize. We need to get rid of archaic rules for a substance that is fully legal in 19 states plus DC. And we need to legalize it at the federal level.”
There is no need for Sha’Carri to apologize.
We need to get rid of archaic rules for a substance that is fully legal in 19 states plus DC.
And we need to legalize it at the federal level. https://t.co/Ws0n8ykKIP
— Congressman Jamaal Bowman (@RepBowman) July 2, 2021
On the other hand, there were numerous people who agreed with the suspension to protect the integrity of the rules.
Founder of ACT for America, Bridget Gabriel, said, “Sha’Carri Richardson, who is the fastest woman in the world, has been suspended from the Olympics for testing positive for marijuana. What was she thinking?! “.
Sha’Carri Richardson, who is the fastest woman in the world, has been suspended from the Olympics for testing positive for marijuana.
What was she thinking?!
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) July 2, 2021
Richardson came out publicly and apologized about her marijuana use and explained she used it in Oregon after finding out about the death of her biological mother. Richardson appeared on “TODAY” and apologized, saying she wasn’t looking for empathy.
“Leading up to that, dealing with my mental health dealing with mental access [SIC] leading up to the Games, every time stepping onto the track expecting to be a record-breaking time or something like that. Just with that pressure in itself was just a whole ‘nother [SIC] thing which actually was the first full professional career, my first full professional circuit this year due to the pandemic.”
Sha'Carri Richardson says she smoked marijuana to cope with her mother’s death, “I was trying to hide my pain”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 2, 2021
Richardson was widely regarded as a potential breakout star in the Olympics. She won the 100-meter dash in 10.86 seconds during trials.
The maximum penalty for a positive test will result in a year-long suspension. A one-month suspension is the bare minimum penalty. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines, “if the athlete can establish that any ingestion or use occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sport [SIC] performance, then the period of ineligibility shall be three months,” which “may be reduced to one month if the athlete satisfactorily completes a substance of abuse treatment program.”
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