Sha’Carri Richardson, the new sprint sensation, could miss the Tokyo Olympics this month after testing positive for marijuana, a banned substance.
The positive test would automatically void Richardson’s results in the women’s 100-meter final, which she won, at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, last month.
The New York Times have reported that Jenna Prandini, who placed fourth at the trials, has been notified that she will now join Javianne Oliver and Teahna Daniels to represent the U.S. to run the 100 meters in Tokyo. Gabby Thomas, who finished fifth at the trials, was named as an alternate for the race.
The Gleaner, which first reported the story, says Sha’Carri Richardson could face a suspension of as much as three months for the positive test. While it remains unclear how long Richardson’s suspension will be, it could be as short as 30 days.
Though a 30-day suspension would prevent her from participating in the much-anticipated women’s 100 metres in Tokyo, Sha’Carri Richardson could still potentially compete in the 4×100 meter relay if selected by U.S.A. Track and Field.
Richardson was expected to run in the 200m at the Diamond League in Stockholm this weekend (Sunday July 4th) but was scratched without any explanation from her management team. Instead, she posted a cryptic tweet early on Thursday, which merely said “I am human”.
After dominating the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, winning the final in 10.86 seconds, Richardson set her focus on the Tokyo Olympics, where she was expected to be a favorite in the 100 meters.
With a personal best of 10.72 seconds at Miramar, Florida, in April, which bettered her previous best of 10.75 seconds set while winning the 2019 NCAA title, the 21-year-old Richardson was acclaimed as the most exciting sprinter since Usain Bolt.
She seemed like the best hope of taking down the powerful Jamaicans, who have had a stranglehold on the women’s 100 meters for the past thirteen years, and wining gold for the U.S., thus breaking a twenty-five-year drought in the event.
With Sha’Carri Richardson out of contention, the path seems easier for Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who has the fastest time (10.63 seconds) in the world this year.