Sha’Carri Richardson apologises for failing to “control my emotions” after positive cannabis test

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Sha’Carri Richardson has apologised after returning a positive drugs test for marijuana, which has now seen her ruled out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The American sprinter returned the positive test at the US Olympic trials last week, where she ran 100m in 10.86 seconds to qualify for Tokyo 2020. Richardson has accepted a 30-day suspension and will miss the 100m at the Games, although she could return for the women’s relays.

The 21-year-old Richardson appeared on NBC’s Today show to apologise for her actions.

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“As much as I’m disappointed I know that when I step on the track I represent not only myself, I represent a community that has shown great support, great love... I apologise for the fact that I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time,” she said.

She revealed she had used cannabis to cope with the death of her biological mother, which took place just before the US Olympic trials.

“We all have our different struggles we all have our different things we deal with but to put on a face and have to go out in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain,” Richardson said.

“Who are you? Who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing a 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. Who am I to tell you how to cope? Who am I to tell you you’re wrong for hurting?”

Cannabis is classified as a prohibited substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and currently carries a maximum four-year ban.

A suspension can be reduced to a period of three months if an athlete can prove the drug was used out of competition and it did not enhance their performance. According to WADA, the ban can be reduced by a further month if the athlete is willing to undertake an approved treatment programme.

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Richardson has set the world of sprinting alight since turning professional in 2019. Her recent performances had turned her into a serious medal contender for the 100m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

She ran a personal best of 10.72 in April, making her the sixth fastest woman in history. Compatriot Florence Griffith-Joyner holds the world record of 10.49, set in 1988.

Despite Richardson’s absence, the women’s 100m will still be stacked with talent. Jamaica’s three-time world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah will likely be among the final line-up.

World silver medallist Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith will also be in contention, having beaten Richardson and Fraser-Pryce in a Diamond League race in May.

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