Track star and fan favorite Sha’Carri Richardson will not be able to compete in her signature 100-meter event after failing a drug test and being suspended from the U.S. Olympic team, but she may still be able to compete in relay events.
Richardson, 21, ran the women's 100-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon in just 10.86 seconds. However, she failed a drug test after the June 19 race, testing positive for THC, the chemical found in marijuana.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement on Friday that Richardson had "accepted a one-month suspension" beginning on June 28. USA Track and Field said in a separate statement that Richardson's "situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved." Neither agency addressed Richardson's potential appearance in the relay events at the Tokyo Games.
There are two women's relay events in the Olympics: One 4x100-meter relay and one 4x400-meter race. Up to six athletes may be entered as members of each relay pool, and while four of those athletes must be entered in individual races, two other athletes may be selected, according to World Athletics (formerly IAAF) rules. Since Richardson's usual event is the 100-meter race, she would compete in the 4x100 meter relay.
Those two athletes will be selected by the USATF head relay coach, in "consultation and cooperation with the respective 2020 Olympic Games Head Coach or his/her designee, USATF's Chief of Sport Performance, USATF High Performance Division Chair and one non-competing athlete selected by USATF’s Athletes Advisory Committee who has World Championship and/or Olympic experience in the 4x100m or 4x400m relays," according to the agency's rules.
Richardson said on TODAY Friday that she would be "grateful" for the chance to compete in the relay, but is not focused on doing so. Richardson said that she consumed marijuana after being told her biological mother had died.
"Right now, I’m just putting all of my time and energy into dealing with what I need to do, which is heal myself," she told Savannah Guthrie. "So if I’m allowed to receive that blessing, then I’m grateful for it, but if not, right now I’m going to just focus on myself."