Track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson, one of the fastest women of all time, will not be competing in any races at the Tokyo Olympics, a newly released team roster revealed.
Richardson, 21, was slapped with a 30-day suspension from the sport last week after a drug test detected marijuana in her system ― a punishment that meant she wouldn’t be able to run in the 100-meter individual race in the Games, which start July 23. However, the suspension’s timing left open the possibility that she could run with the 4×100 relay team if USA Track and Field selected her for one of its two discretionary spots.
But when the organization released its relay roster Tuesday, Richardson was not on it. She has not yet publicly commented on the decision but previously said she was accepting of the suspension.
“I know what I did, I know what I’m supposed to do, what I’m allowed not to do. And I still made that decision,” Richardson said Friday on the “Today” show, explaining that she used marijuana before the Olympic qualifying trials after a reporter informed her of her biological mother’s death.
Hearing the news from “a complete stranger was triggering,” she said, and she used marijuana to cope. The drug is legal for recreational use in Oregon, where she was at the time she used it, as it is in 17 other states and in Washington, D.C.
The suspension caused an uproar online, with many guffawing at marijuana being treated as a performance-enhancing drug. Others pointed out that legal cannabis is a multimillion-dollar industry whose beneficiaries are almost entirely white, while those punished for its use, like Richardson, are overwhelmingly people of color.
Richardson was expected to be one of the biggest names on Team USA at this year’s Games. In April, she ran a new personal best of 10.72 seconds and became the sixth fastest woman of all time. There was a good chance she could have won the United States its first gold medal in the 100-meter dash since 1996.
She’s also earned the adoration of fans with her ever-changing hair colors ― her mane was a fiery orange for the Olympic trials ― and engaging personality.
“I want the world to know I’m that girl,” Richardson told NBC on the track when she qualified for the Olympic team.
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