Sha'Carri Richardson not selected for Olympic relay, will miss Tokyo Games

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Sha'Carri Richardson, the American 100-meter star who last week was suspended after testing positive for marijuana, will not compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

USA Track & Field announced its Olympic roster Tuesday, and Richardson wasn't listed.

Richardson's positive test, which occurred after she won the 100 at U.S. Olympic Trials, disqualified her from the race in Tokyo. USA Track & Field's rules allowed the governing body to select Richardson for its 4x100 relay team if it wished. Her month-long suspension will expire before that event at the Olympics.

Sha'Carri Richardson celebrates after winning the fourth heat during the women's 100-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Friday, June 18, 2021, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Sha'Carri Richardson celebrates after winning a 100-meter heat during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials last month. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

USATF named six sprinters to its women's 4x100 relay team, however, and Richardson was not one of them. The top-four finishers in the 100 at trials — Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels, Jenna Prandini and Gabby Thomas — automatically made the relay team. Officials selected English Gardner and Aleia Hobbs, the fifth- and sixth-place finishers at trials, for the final two relay pool spots.

In a statement shortly after the announcement of the team, USATF argued that "it would be detrimental to the integrity of the [trials] if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games."

In the statement, though, USATF argued for a reevaluation of the World Anti-Doping Agency's rules related to marijuana. It also said, first and foremost, that it was "incredibly sympathetic toward Sha'Carri Richardson's extenuating circumstances ... and will offer her our continued support both on and off the track."

Richardson said last week, after confirming news of the positive test, that she'd used marijuana after learning of the death of her biological mother. Richardson said that hearing the news from a "complete stranger" had been "triggering" and "nerve-shocking," and that it sent her into "a state of emotional panic."

But, USATF said: "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."

Richardson, when asked last week on "The Today Show" whether she hoped to be named to the Olympic relay team, said, “Right now, I’m just putting all of my time and energy into dealing with what I need to do to heal myself. If I’m allowed to receive that blessing, then I’m grateful for it. But if not, right now, I’m gonna just focus on myself.”

Richardson, in the interview, took responsibility for the positive test, and apologized to fans, family and sponsors for letting them down. She also promised: "This'll be the last time the Olympics don't see Sha'Carri Richardson. And this'll be the last time the U.S. doesn't come home with a gold medal in the 100."

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