American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson apologized on Friday for her positive marijuana test this week, saying she couldn’t compete in the Olympic 100-meter sprint.
The 21-year-old star athlete has accepted a 30-day suspension. She may be authorized to participate in the women’s relay events after the expiration of the penalty.
Richardson told “Today” host Savannah Guthrie that she used the drugs after a reporter confronted her with news of her birth mother’s death, but said she was not looking for sympathy.
“I know what I’ve done, I know what I’m supposed to do, what I have the right not to do. And I made that decision anyway, ”Richardson said Friday morning.
At the time, she was in Oregon, where recreational marijuana use has been legal since 2015.
Richardson said she was shocked to learn from a stranger that her mother had passed away, but did not blame the reporter, who was only doing his job.
“It was really triggering and blinding,” she said. “I know I can’t hide, so in a way I was trying to hide my pain.”
The US Anti-Doping Agency has confirmed Richardson’s suspension.
“The rules are clear, but it’s heartbreaking on many levels; Hopefully her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example for all of us that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of them for her, ”said USADA CEO Travis Tygart , in a press release.
Richardson had secured her place at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo by running the women’s 100 meters in just 10.86 seconds. She turned heads not only with her speed but also her style, running with flowing bright orange hair and long nails.