Sha’Carri Richardson speaks out about failing drug test ahead of Olympics
(AP) — American champion Sha’Carri 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, spoke of her ban Friday on the TODAY show. She tested positive at the Olympic trials and so her result is erased. Fourth-place finisher Jenna Prandini is expected to get Richardson’s spot in the 100.
The 21-year-old accepted a 30-day suspension that ends July 27, which would be in time to run in the women’s relays. USA Track and Field has not disclosed plans for the relay.
In an exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie on Friday, Richardson said she smoked marijuana as a way of coping with her mother’s recent death.
“I was definitely triggered and blinded by emotions, blinded by badness, and hurting, and hiding hurt,” she told Guthrie. “I know I can’t hide myself, so in some type of way, I was trying to hide my pain.”
Richardson had what could have been a three-month sanction reduced to one month because she participated in a counseling program.
"I apologize," she said. "As much as I’m disappointed, I know that when I step on the track, I don’t represent myself. I represent a community that has shown me great support, great love, and I failed you all. So I apologize for the fact that I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions."
Click here to watch Richardson’s exclusive TODAY interview in its entirety.