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Sha’Carri Richardson has apologized for her marijuana use that led to a positive test at the Olympic trials last month, when she won the 100-meter race in a time of 10.86 seconds.
Appearing on the Today show Friday morning, Richardson apologized to her family, fans, and sponsors:
“I want to take responsibility for my actions. I know what I did, I know what I’m supposed to do. What I’m allowed not to do, and I still made that decision. I’m not looking for an excuse or any empathy in my case. However, being in that position in my life, finding out something like that, something that I would say is probably one of the biggest things that have impacted me positively and negatively in my life when it comes to dealing with the relationship with my mother.”
Richardson had learned of the passing of her mother in an interview from “a complete stranger” just days before the Olympic trials.
“I had an interview scheduled with my agent. I was just thinking ‘oh it will be a normal interview’, and then in the interview to hear that information come from a complete stranger was definitely triggering and nerve shocking. It’s just like ‘who are you to tell me that’? And no offense against him at all, he was just doing his job, but that definitely sent me in a state of emotional panic, still knowing that I have to go out and put on a performance for my dream. So yes, it was definitely triggering and from there just blinded by emotion. Blinded by hurting, hiding hurt for the fact that I know I can’t hide myself so at least in some type of way I was trying to hide my pain.”
After she had learned about her positive test, Richardson tweeted out “I am human”.
Richardson’s 30-day suspension ends July 27, which would be after the 100-meter race in Tokyo but still in time to run in the women’s relay. USA Track and Field have not disclosed their plans for the relay, but did put out a statement saying the “situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved.”
International regulators relaxed the threshold for what constitutes a positive test for marijuana from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 150ng/m after the London Olympics. They explained the new threshold was an attempt to ensure that in-competition use is detected and not use during the days and weeks before competition. It is also important to note that in the state where the positive test was received, Oregon, recreational use of marijuana is legal.
With the potential for her to run in the relay still up in the air, Richardson said that if allowed she’d be “grateful, but if not, I’m just going to focus on myself.”