Sha'Carri Richardson's win at the women's 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field trials in Oregon last month was one of the most talked-about moments of the event, but a recent positive marijuana test has automatically invalidated her achievement.
And now, the star athlete has finally addressed the situation.
"I want to take responsibility for my actions," she told Savannah Guthrie in an exclusive interview for TODAY. "I know what I did, I know what I'm supposed to do ... and I still made that decision."
"[I'm] not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case, but, 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... that definitely was a very heavy topic on me," she continued.
The twenty-one-year-old was set to take her place at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics but things could take a turn if she's deemed as ineligible to compete at the highly-anticipated occasion which kicks off on July 23rd. It's all in the hands of the USOPC and/or USA Track & Field eligibility rules.
She told the news outlet that the death of her biological mother played a role in her substance usage: "People don't understand what it's like to have to... go in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain. Who am I to tell you how to cope when you're dealing with the pain or you're dealing with a struggle that you haven't experienced before or that you thought you never would have to deal with?"
She added that it was a "triggering" event.
“Don't judge me, because I am human… I just happen to run a little faster."
Sha'Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) speaks with @SavannahGuthrie about her failed drug test. pic.twitter.com/aZKTDhYn6Z
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2021
So far, Richardson has accepted a 1-month suspension, which started on June 28th, 2021 because "her use of cannabis occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance, and because she successfully completed a counseling program regarding her use of cannabis," read the USADA report.
The revelation of the drug test means that Richardson's results have been fully wiped from the books so the standings for all the other athletes that competed have changed. The New York Times reported that one of the sources that confirmed the outcome said that Jenna Prandini, the athlete who finished in 4th place in the race, has been told that she will be one of the 3 American women running the 100 meters in Tokyo. Gabby Thomas, who finished in 5th has been kept as the reserve for the team.
"Right now, I'm just putting all of my time and energy into dealing with what I need to do, which is heal myself," she explained during the interview. "So if I'm allowed to receive that blessing, then I'm grateful for it, but if not, right now I'm going to just focus on myself."
She also apologized to her fans: "As much as I'm disappointed, I know that when I step on the track, I don't represent myself. I represent a community that has shown me great support, great love, and I failed you all. So I apologize for the fact that I didn't know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions.
She concluded the interview with Guthrie with a little bit of humor: "Don't judge me because I am human. I'm you, I just happen to run a little faster."
Ain't that the truth. We'll just have to wait and see what the committee decides.