Shakari Richardson to miss Olympics after not selected for relay

American sprinter Shakari Richardson, who lost her spot in the women’s 100 meters at the Olympics because she used marijuana before her qualifying race, will miss the Tokyo Games entirely, when coaches chose her not to be on the relay team. decided to keep, the US track official announced Tuesday.

Richardson, who confessed to using marijuana to cope with the death of her biological mother and pressure to perform at the US Track and Field Trials, could have been selected for the women’s 4x100m relay race, an event known as the American women are favored to win and her last option to compete in the Games.

Richardson, 21, the fastest American woman, was suspended for 30 days for a drug violation, and her victory in the 100 meters at the trials was invalidated. To make the U.S. team in a track and field event, an athlete must finish in the top three in a trial meet and meet the Olympic standard.

However, track officials are able to select at least two athletes for the relay regardless of their performance in the trials. Since the relay occurs after Richardson’s suspension ends, he could have been named in the squad.

But the coaches had already selected members of the relay squad and informed those runners of their selection before Richardson’s positive test became public. Following Richardson’s disqualification, the coaches chose the next six finishers in the 100 meters. The coaches decided that it would be unfair to take a slot from one of those runners and give it to Richardson as it was now the only way to get him on the team. Additionally, the organization selection criteria Do not include a provision for that type of replacement.

In a statement released Tuesday, USA Track and Field sympathized with Richardson and called for a reassessment of antidoping rules on marijuana use. However, the organization said it would harm its team if it amended its selection rules to make room for Richardson after the conclusion of the trial competition.

“All USATF athletes are equally aware and must abide by current antidoping codes, and our credibility as the national governing body would be lost if the rules were only enforced under certain circumstances,” the organization said. “So while our heartfelt understanding is with Shakari, we must also maintain fairness to all the athletes who strive to make their dreams come true by securing a place on the US Olympic track and field team.”

Richardson’s agent, Renaldo Nehemia, a former world-record holder, said Richardson was devastated when he learned she was not going to Tokyo due to a drug violation and was now focusing on competitions after the Olympics. have been Nehemiah said that Richardson did not petition to join the relay team.

Richardson was competing in Oregon, where marijuana is legal for recreational use, in US trials last month when she said a reporter told her her biological mother had died. She said the news blinded her a few days before the biggest race of her life.

Richardson, who makes bold statements about her performance and is generally supportive of them, burst onto the scene this spring with a series of lightning-fast races that gave her the rightful claim to being America’s fastest woman. She has attracted attention not only for her speed but also for her outspoken nature, her voluminous, ever-changing hair and her long nails and eyelashes.

Her time of 10.84 seconds in the 100m final at the US Trials immediately made her a gold medal favorite at the Tokyo Olympics starting this month, as it wasn’t even the fastest race. this year. Richardson ran the distance this spring in 10.72 seconds, the sixth-fastest time in history.

She appeared perfectly positioned to become one of the breakout stars of the Tokyo Games, as well as the kind of celebrity runner that USA Track and Field, the sport’s governing body in the United States, has been craving for years.

But just days after that win, Richardson pulled out of the 200-meter qualifying race, and last Thursday it became clear why—he had tested positive for marijuana after his victory in the 100.

Marijuana is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of performance-enhancing drugs. Research on the drug is limited, but it can have both activating and calming effects, depending on the strain of the drug, and it can often be used as a relaxation aid before an acute moment such as in US trials.

In addition, some substances are included on the list of banned drugs, the agency says, “because they are often misused in society in the context of sports.” In other words, doping officials don’t want to be seen as sanctioning certain substances that have historically been considered harmful to society, even though those ideas have evolved in recent years.

Richardson’s suspension led to widespread claims of unfairness – though not by Richardson, who apologized for his mistake – because marijuana is legal in many states and has been demonetized significantly in places where it is not legal. It is viewed very differently by the general population than steroids such as synthetic testosterone.

Richardson is one of four elite American sprinters to miss the Games due to a doping violation. Men’s World Champion Christian Coleman serving in the 100 18 months suspension To memorize many drug tests. Shelby Hoolihan, the US record holder in 1,500, was suspended for four years last month after testing positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid.

On Friday the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest arbiter of such cases, Five-year suspension upheld for Brianna McNeil, the 2016 Olympic champion in the 100m hurdles, for tampering with paperwork related to her explanation for missing a drug test.

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