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Sha’Carri Richardson Not Named to U.S. Olympic Relay Team After Marijuana Suspension

U.S. star sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson will not be part of the U.S. Olympic relay team, the USATF announced on Tuesday. This news comes after Richardson tested positive for marijuana in a test conducted at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

Gabby Thomas, English Gardner and Aleia Hobbs were listed for the 4x100m relay pool. The women's 100 meter event will consist of Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels Jenna Pradini and Thomas. 

"I'm sorry I can't be y'all Olympic Champ this year but I promise I'll be your World Champ next year," Richardson tweeted Saturday. 

The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced Richardson accepted a one-month ban for her positive test that started June 28. If USATF would have granted Richardson the opportunity to participate on Team USATF, the ban would not have prevented her from participating in the 4x100 meter relay. 

USA Track and Field issued the following statement regarding Richardson not being selected for the 4x100 meter relay: "First and foremost, we are incredibly sympathetic toward Sha'Carri Richardson's extenuating circumstances and strong applaud her accountability—and will offer her our continued support both on and off the track."

Richardson, 21, won the women’s 100 meter final in 10.86 seconds at U.S. Olympic Trials in Oregon last month. A few days before the trials, Richardson learned about her mother's death during an interview with a reporter, an event she called "triggering" and "nerve-shocking." She later ingested marijuana while in Oregon. 

Richardson was slated to compete in the 200 meters at the Stockholm Diamond League on July 4 but withdrew from the meet this week. 

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Marijuana is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the USADA in competition period. The threshold for an athlete to have THC in their system in competition without it causing a positive test is 150 nanograms per milliliter. According to WADA: “Athletes who smoke cannabis or Spice in-competition potentially endanger themselves and others because of increased risk taking, slower reaction times and poor executive function or decision making."

In June, USADA announced that sprinter Kahmari Montgomery was suspended for one month following a positive marijuana test during an in-competition test at a meet in Florida. Montgomery’s suspension was only one month because it was out-of-competition cannabis use and was unrelated to his sports performance. He also completed a counseling program. Richardson's use also occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sports performance. She also already successfully completed a counseling program regarding her cannabis use.

Richardson was looking to become the United States' first gold medalist in the 100 meters since 1996. She burst onto the scene winning the 2019 NCAA title in a collegiate record of 10.75 seconds. She lowered that personal best to 10.72 in April for the sixth-fastest wind-legal time ever. 

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has the fastest time in the world in 2021 with a 10.63 from earlier in June. She is looking to win her third Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters after winning in '08 and '12.

The Tokyo Games are set to begin on July 23 and run through Aug. 8.

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