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‘Don’t judge me’: US sprint star facing ‘heartbreaking’ Olympics ban after testing positive for cannabis in wake of mother’s death

‘Don’t judge me’: US sprint star facing ‘heartbreaking’ Olympics ban after testing positive for cannabis in wake of mother’s death
US 100m and 200m sprinter Sha'Charri Richardson has been hit by a one-month ban from athletics after testing positive for marijuana, and is now likely to miss the Tokyo games despite winning at the US Olympic Trials last month.

The 21-year-old recorded the sixth-fastest time in history when she won the 100m race in Oregon, but her positive test means an impressive qualification result might now be expunged.

Richardson raced clear of the field with a 10.86-second showing – a display that was even more remarkable considering her biological mother died just a week before,.

Despite her despair at the ban, Richardson has promised to win 100 meter Olympic gold at the 2024 Games in Paris.

"Don't judge me, because I am human – I just happen to run a little faster," she insisted to NBC's Today show.

"I apologize for the fact that I didn't even know how to control my emotions or deal with that during that time," Richardson added, suggesting that she may have used marijuana to deal with her grief.

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) made an announcement that Richardson had accepted the suspension for using "a substance of abuse" as opposed to enhancing her performance.

"The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels," USADA chief executive Travis Tygart remarked.

"Hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her."

Richardson's ban runs June 28 to July 30, which could free her to take part in the Olympics. 

Yet her trials results have been canceled and USADA has said that it is down to the US Track and Field (USATF) and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to decide her fate.

Probed on whether she harbored hopes of still heading to Tokyo, Richardson said she will now focus on herself and preparing for the next edition of the athletics spectacle, which takes place every four years.

"I greatly apologize if I let you guys down – and I did," the Texan accepted. "This will be the last time the US comes home without a gold in the 100m.

"I'm 21, I'm very young, I have plenty of games left in me to compete in and plenty of talent that backs me up because everything I do comes naturally to me, no steroids or anything.

"This incident was about marijuana, so after my sanction is up, I'll be back. Next time I step on the track I'll be ready for whatever anti-doping agencies come and [they will] get whatever they need because this will never happen again."

"Sha'Carri Richardson's situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved," offered the USATF.

"Athlete health and well-being continue to be one of USATF's most critical priorities and we will work with Sha'Carri to ensure she has ample resources to overcome any mental health challenges now and in the future."

Cannabis is currently prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency
and can carry a ban of anything up to four years.

If an athlete can show that its consumption was not related to performance, however, this can be reduced to just three months – reduced to a mere month if they agree to complete a treatment program.

Also on rt.com ‘The officer dragged me out of the car’: Cops who stopped sprint duo ‘face investigation over alleged racism & dishonesty’ (VIDEO)

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