U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s future in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics has been thrown into doubt after she reportedly tested positive for marijuana.
The Gleaner, a Jamaican newspaper, first reported the news. It said Thursday that the 21-year-old athlete had tested positive for the drug at the U.S. track and field Olympic trials last month.
Richardson bested her competitors in the 100-meter final at the trials, finishing with a time of 10.86 seconds. As Sports Illustrated noted at the time, she was the “United States’ best hope at a gold medal in the women’s 100m.”
The New York Times, corroborating The Gleaner’s report, said Richardson’s positive test had “automatically disqualified her” from the 100m race at the Olympics. The Times said it was unclear whether Richardson would appeal the test result and disqualification.
If she remains disqualified, Jenna Prandini, who came in fourth at the 100m trials, is expected to replace her as one of the three U.S. women competing in the Olympic event.
The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Tyler Dragon said Richardson’s Olympic dreams may not be entirely dashed as she could still be allowed to compete in the 4x100m relay.
Richardson has yet to comment publicly on the test, but Thursday she abruptly pulled out of the Diamond League in Stockholm, where she had been expected to compete in the 200-meter race Sunday.
She also penned a cryptic tweet, which said only: “I am human.”
Marijuana is a banned substance during competitions under World Anti-Doping Agency rules. As the Times noted, a suspension for a positive marijuana test can be up to two years, but the minimum length is one month if the athlete proves the drug was not taken in competition and is willing to participate in a substance abuse treatment program.
The Tokyo Olympics are slated to start July 23. The first round of the women’s 100m race is scheduled to take place July 30.
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