US sprinter says ‘don’t judge me’ in apology after failing Olympics drug test

richardson US sprinter

Sha’Carri Richardson ran 10.86 seconds at the Team US trials in June (Picture: Rex/Getty)

US 100m sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson has apologized after she tested positive for cannabis at the American Olympic team trials last month.

Richardson, 21, won the 100m Team US race in June with a time of 10.86 seconds, securing her ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games due to start later this month.

That time was the sixth-fastest in history, but the Texan’s positive cannabis test means her qualification result has been deleted from the record books.

Richardson has subsequently been suspended until July 27 – meaning she is set to miss the Olympic Games, which start on July 23.

In theory the track star could be free to take part in the 100m and relay events at the Olympics, but the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) said her eligibility for Tokyo would be a decision for US Track and Field (USATF) and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to take.

Sha’Carri Richardson races in the Women’s 100m final on day 2 of the 2020 US Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 19, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon (Picture: Getty)

In an apology on the Today show on Friday, Richardson asked people not to judge her ‘because I am human’.

Richardson said: ‘I would like to say to my fans and my family and my sponsorship, to the haters too, I apologize.

‘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 to y’all I failed y’all.

‘So I apologize for the fact that I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time’ she added, in reference to her mother’s recent death.

‘I was definitely triggered and blinded by emotions, blinded by badness, and hurting, and hiding hurt’, Richardson told the broadcaster.

The rising star of US athletics said she wanted to be ‘as transparent as possible’ and emphasized that she was not found to be using performance enhancing steroids, but marijuana instead.

‘Don’t judge me, because I am human … I just happen to run a little faster’, Richardson added.

She also went on to explain that she intends to keep running and that she has ‘plenty of games left in’ her.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Chris Cooper/Action Plus/Shutterstock (11922157h) Sha'Carri Richardson at the press conference; Hilton Hotel, Gateshead, England; Diamond League Muller Athletics Grand Prix Gateshead press conference. Diamond League Athletics press conference, Gateshead, UK - 22 May 2021

Richardson may miss the entirety of the Olympic Games in Tokyo (Credits: Chris Cooper/Action Plus/Shutterstock)

The sprinter accepted the 30-day suspension that ends 27 July meaning there is a chance she would be able to compete this year in the relay on 6 August.

Richardson said she would be ‘grateful’ for such an opportunity but if that wasn’t an option, she would focus on ‘healing herself’.

A possible three-month sanction for her use of marijuana is said to have been reduced to one month because she participated in a counseling program.

Cannabis is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada). It is not yet clear if the athlete will appeal the drug test results.

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