Sha'Carri Richardson Will Race All 3 Olympic 100m Medalists After Being Suspended from Team USA
Sha'Carri Richardson's Olympic dreams were dashed last month after she was suspended from Team USA over a positive marijuana test.
Luckily for the fastest woman in America, she will have a chance to compete next week at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, where she's set to race against Team Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson.
The three athletes recently won gold, silver, and bronze, respectively, in the Tokyo Olympics 100m final, the event Richardson, 21, was set to compete in before being disqualified.
Thompson-Herah broke the 10.62-second record previously held by Florence Griffith Joyner when she won gold last month with a time of 10.61 seconds. Fraser-Pryce came in second place with 10.74 seconds, and Jackson finished third with 10.76 seconds.
But Richardson is not trying to prove anything as she faces off against the very women she would have competed against in Tokyo.
"Sha'Carri is focused on running a good race since she last competed at the US Olympic Trials," Richardson's agent Renaldo Nehemiah told The Wall Street Journal. "She will be focused on executing her race to the best of her ability regardless of who is in the race."
Richardson impressed with a time of 10.86 in June, when she won the women's 100m race at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene. She ultimately lost her spot on Team USA after she tested positive for THC, a chemical in marijuana, following the trials.
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis T. Tygart called the decision to suspend Richardson "heartbreaking on many levels," emphasizing: "The rules are clear." The Louisiana State University alum ultimately accepted the USADA's one-month suspension.
Although her trials result in the women's 100m race was disqualified due to her failed drug test, the suspension would have expired before the women's 4x100m relay race. However, USA Track and Field decided not to include her on the roster for Tokyo. "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 said in a statement.
"I am human," Richardson wrote on Twitter amid the positive results of the drug test. "I know what I did. I know what I'm supposed to do and what I'm allowed not to do, and I still made that decision," she later said on Today. "But I'm not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case."
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Richardson also explained how finding out about the death of her biological mother the week before the trials was a "heavy" experience for her. "People don't understand what it's like to have to — alright, people do. We all have our different struggles. We all have our different things we deal with," she said.
"But to put on a face, to have to go in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain, I don't know," Richardson continued. "Who am I to tell you how to cope when you're dealing with pain? Or you're dealing with a struggle that you've never experienced before? Or that you never thought you'd have to deal with?"