Sha’Carri Richardson, the Olympic hopeful who was suspended from competition last week for 30 days following a positive test for cannabis, has been left off the 4X100-meter relay which will prevent her from competing in the Games at all.
In a Tuesday statement announcing the move, USA Track & Field (USATF) said it “fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated” but “it would be detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games.”
“All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances. 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.”—USATF in a statement
Richardson has accepted the one-month suspension but there was still a chance she could compete in the August 6 relay, which fell outside of the 30-day suspension. Richardson had said she used cannabis to deal with the “emotional panic” following her mother’s death.
President Joe Biden (D) said he was “really proud of the way she responded” to the setback but said, ultimately, the “rules are the rules.”
“Everybody knows what the rules are going in,” Biden told reporters last week in Michigan, according to a USA Today report. “Whether they should remain that way, whether that should remain the rule, is a different issue. Rules are rules.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) said the decision to suspend Richardson “lacks any scientific basis.”
“It’s rooted solely in the systemic racism that’s long driven anti-marijuana laws,” she tweeted last week.
USATF said the organization is “incredibly sympathetic toward Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstances and strongly applaud her accountability and will offer her [their] continued support both on and off the track.”
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