Sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson Makes First Public Appearance After Olympic Suspension at ESPY Awards

Sha'Carri Richardson was not named on the official Olympic roster after testing positive for marijuana at the June 19 trials, USA Track & Field recently announced

Sha'Carri Richardson ESPYs
Photo: ABC

After the controversy surrounding her positive marijuana test at the Team USA Olympic track and field trials in June, Sha'Carri Richardson made a red carpet appearance at the ESPY Awards on Saturday.

The sprinter, 21, attended the awards show at The Rooftop at Pier 17 at the Seaport in New York City. During the event, Richardson, who sported fiery red hair and wore a black dress, was the topic of one of host Anthony Mackie's monologue bits, when he pointed out how "high" the rooftop venue was.

"USA Track & Field, how you mess that up?" Mackie later said. "Weed is a de-enhancing drug. It doesn't make you do anything besides watch another episode of Bob's Burgers. I don't get how you justify not letting her run."

Her appearance at the ESPYs comes four days after USA Track and Field did not include the athlete on the Tokyo Olympics roster for the women's 4x100m relay race — the only event she could've competed in after she tested positive for THC, which is the chemical in marijuana and a banned substance in the sport, at the trials in Oregon on June 19.

Richardson, whose trials result of 10.86 seconds in the women's 100m race was disqualified due to her failed drug test, accepted a one-month suspension, which began on June 28.

Michael Le Brecht via Getty

"First and foremost, we are incredibly sympathetic toward Sha'Carri Richardson's extenuating circumstances and strongly applaud her accountability - and will offer her our continued support both on and off the track. While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated, 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," USATF said in a statement. "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."

The statement concluded, "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 previously opened up about using marijuana to cope with the loss of her biological mother, who died the week before the track trials.

Following the news of Richardson's positive test, many celebrity fans and fellow athletes spoke out in support of the track star, using the hashtag "#LetHerRun" and calling out the "outdated" rule against marijuana.

The 2021 ESPY Awards, hosted by Anthony Mackie, air on ABC at 8 p.m. EST on July 10, and are expected to follow COVID-19 safety protocols and adhere to CDC guidelines.

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