Sha’Carri Richardson Won’t Compete at Olympics After Missing USA’s 4x100 Relay Team

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 6, 2021

In this June 19, 2021 photo, Sha'Carri Richardson celebrates after winning the first heat of the semis finals in women's 100-meter runat the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.    Richardson cannot run in the Olympic 100-meter race after testing positive for a chemical found in marijuana.  Richardson, who won the 100 at Olympic trials in 10.86 seconds on June 19, told of her ban Friday, July 2 on the “Today Show.”(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Sha'Carri Richardson won't be representing the United States at the Tokyo Olympics.

On Tuesday, USA Track and Field announced the athletes who will be competing in the Summer Games. Richardson was absent from the women's 100-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay team.

USA Track and Field explained her omission.

"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 organization said.

Richardson originally qualified for the Olympics by winning the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.86 seconds. Following the U.S. trials, though, she received a one-month suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for THC.

The timing of her punishment would've allowed the 21-year-old to at least compete in the 4x100 relay, which is scheduled to get underway Aug. 5 and conclude the following day.

Critics have questioned whether Richardson's infraction rose to the level of a suspension, especially given the enormous consequences in this case. Cannabis isn't considered a performance-enhancing drug, and the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in multiple states, including Oregon, where the Olympic trials took place.

Richardson engendered more empathy when she explained on Today she used marijuana in part to help cope after learning of the death of her biological mother.


Sha’Carri Richardson (<a href="https://twitter.com/itskerrii?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@itskerrii</a>) joins us live for an exclusive interview to discuss the positive marijuana test that’s put her Olympic future in limbo. <a href="https://t.co/iVBp3zhvja">pic.twitter.com/iVBp3zhvja</a>

President Joe Biden weighed in shortly after the suspension was announced and largely echoed Tuesday's statement from USATF.

"The rules are the rules," he said. "Whether they should remain the rules is a different issue, but the rules are the rules."

This closes the book on Richardson's status for Tokyo. Now, her focus will likely shift toward the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, then her journey to Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics.