Track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson was not selected for the women’s 4×100-meter relay race, eliminating the American sprinter from competing in the Tokyo Olympics altogether, as The New York Times reports. The news announced by American track officials on Tuesday comes after Richardson lost her spot to compete in the 100 meters after testing positive for marijuana.
The 21-year-old sprinter, who won the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field trials in Oregon last month, accepted a one-month suspension after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced the positive test result, and her victory in the trials was invalidated as a result.
While rules require that an athlete must finish in the Top Three in the trials meet and have met the Olympic standard to make the U.S. team, track officials are allowed to pick athletes outside of those requirements. The relay takes place after Richardson’s suspension, so officials had the option to place her on the team.
However, members of the relay team had already been chosen prior to Richardson’s positive test being made public. After she was disqualified, the coaches picked the next six finishers in the 100-meter race to complete the squad.
“All U.S.A.T.F. athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current antidoping code, and our credibility as the national governing body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances,” U.S.A. Track and Field said in a statement. “So while our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams by securing a place on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team.”
In an interview with Today last week, Richardson said she used marijuana in Oregon, where it is legal, during the trials in order to cope with the sudden loss of her biological mother. She learned of her mother’s death from a reporter during an interview a few days before trials began.
“People don’t understand what it’s like to have to … go in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain,” Richardson said. “Who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with the pain or you’re dealing with a struggle that you haven’t experienced before or that you thought you never would have to deal with?”
Richardson added: “I want to take responsibility for my actions. I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do… and I still made that decision… Don’t judge me because I am human. I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster.”