US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson has apologized to fans and is accepting responsibility for the failed drug test and subsequent 30-day ban that will keep her out of the 100-meter dash at the Tokyo Games, but says she only used marijuana to help cope with the death of her biological mother before the Olympic trials in Oregon.
‘I just say don’t judge me because I am human,’ she told NBC’s Today on Friday. ‘I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster.’
Richardson, 21, explained that she learned about her biological mother’s passing from a reporter’s question during an interview days before she established herself as a gold medal contender by winning the 100-meter dash in 10.86 seconds at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon on June 19.
Afterwards, Richardson said she used marijuana in an ’emotional panic’, leading to the failed drug test that was revealed after her 100-meter win.
‘I knew I was having an interview,’ she said Friday. ‘I was just thinking it would be a normal interview. And then… to hear that information come from a complete stranger, I was definitely triggering, it was nerve shocking because it’s just like, how are you to tell me that? And no offense against him at all. He was just doing his job. But definitely, that put me in a state of mind, in a state of emotional panic, if anything.’
But Richardson was not using her mother’s death to excuse her decision. Marijuana is legal in Oregon, so she didn’t break any law, but she did know the potential consequences of using the drug.
‘I want to apologize for our actions,’ she said. ‘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. But [I’m] not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case.’
A positive marijuana test carries a 30-day suspension from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which will keep Richardson from competing in the 100 meter dash at the Tokyo Games on July 29. However, her back-dated ban would allow her to run in the 4×100 relay on August 6, if she is picked to do so by USA Track and Field.
‘If I’m allowed to receive that blessing [to compete in Tokyo] then I’m grateful for it,’ Richardson said. ‘But if not, right now I’m just going to focus on myself.’
A steroid suspension would have been more severe, but as Richardson explained, that’s not a concern with her and she expects to partake in future Olympic Games.
‘This is just one Game,’ she said. ‘I’m 21. I’m very young. Unlike most, I have plenty of Games left in me to compete in and I have plenty of talent that backs me up because of everything I do comes to me naturally, no steroid or anything. This incident was about marijuana. So after my sanction is up, I’ll be back and able to compete and everything. Next time I step on the track, I’ll be ready for whatever anti-doping agencies to come and get whatever they need.’
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SOURCE: Daily Mail