Sha’Carri Richardson will not represent USA Track & Field at the Tokyo Olympics this year after the organization announced Tuesday that it will not compete in the women’s 4×100 relay.
In a statement, the USATF expressed sympathy for Richardson’s situation – she was suspended from competition for a month after testing positive for marijuana in US track and field tests in Oregon last month, but said that It would not be fair to change the rules after the competition. happened and with only a few weeks before the start of the Olympic Games:
“While the USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules relating to THC should be reassessed, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the US Olympic Track and Field Team Trials if the USATF will modify its policies after the competition, just a few weeks before the Olympics, “the organization said.
“All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as a national governing body would be lost if the rules were only enforced under certain circumstances.”
MORE: How Richardson’s Olympic Suspension Differences From Michael Phelps’ 2009 Suspension
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced on Friday that Richardson would be suspended for 30 days for his positive test, guaranteeing that he would not be able to run in his main event, the 100-meter dash, despite finishing first in the standings with a time of 10.86 seconds. . Based on the length of her suspension, it was still possible that she would have been selected for the 4×100 relay competition, the date of which will occur after the conclusion of her suspension (August 5).
But Richardson was absent from Final USATF List, which the organization unveiled on Tuesday. According to the rules of World Athletics, the international federation that governs the track and field, countries can bring a group of six athletes to the Olympics for relay events. The top four finishers in each individual race in the Olympic trials must be included, as a rule.
The last two places, however, are discretionary. That means the USATF staff chose not to pick Richardson with either of their two picks. USA Today, citing a USATF spokesperson, said those two places went to the next highest finalists in the 100-meter dash: English Gardner and Aleia Hobbs, respectively. The USATF said those spots were chosen before Richardson chose a reduced one-month suspension, which meant putting her on the team would have involved removing one of them after they had been chosen for those positions.
Richardson appeared on the “TODAY Show” on Friday not only to apologize, but also to explain his marijuana use (which is legal in Oregon, where Olympic qualification took place): he used marijuana as a coping mechanism after a A reporter told him that his mother, “a complete stranger,” had died.
“We all have our different struggles, we all have our different things to deal with. But to put a face, and I have to go to the front of the world, and put a face and hide my pain,” Richardson said. “Who am I to tell you how to deal with pain or struggle that you have never experienced before?”