The first-place finish of Sha'Carri Richardson in the 100-meter dash at the United States Olympic Trials on June 19 piqued the attention of numerous people across the nation, including former first lady Michelle Obama. However, over a week after the race, the US Anti-Doping Agency declared on July 2 that Richardson had accepted a one-month suspension upon testing positive for a psychoactive component in marijuana, which is a urinary metabolite in THC.
One Facebook post attempted to compare Richardson and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who garnered 28 medals and is currently retired. The post said that Phelps injested weed, kept all his medals, and remained to be a participant in the Olympics. It added that the post did not intend to start a mess with Sha'Carri.
Ricahrdson was one of the sensations during the US Olympic Trials for track and field. The 21-year-old won 100 and reportedly yielded in the process the best probability for an American breakthrough in the event since Gail Devers brought home the gold prize in Atlanta in 1996. She had orange hair, an abrasive personality, a marketer's and track and field fan's dream, and a rare sprinting talent.
Olympic media was swarming with the news of Richardson's suspension. As her suspension has raised the profile of the topic, avid swimming fans will know that anti-doping rules about marijuana use are not new. The dispute around their application is also far from new, indicated Swim Swam.
Richardson appeared to address the situation in a tweet on Thursday. She apologized publicly on NBC's "Today" show on Friday. She stated, "I want to take responsibility for my actions. I know what I did. I know what I'm supposed to do. I know what I'm allowed not to do, and I still made that decision," reported Vogue.
Was Phelps Suspended for Smoking Weed?
Phelps was imposed with a three-month suspension from competing. He lost his Kellogg sponsorship in 2009 following the a photograph that surfaced online which showed him smoking from a marijuana pipe. Phelps acknowledged at the time that the photo was authentic. However, he never actually tested positive for marijuana.
Difference in Timing
The situations differ in the period of time. Phelps' suspension took place six months following the Beijing Olympics and five months prior to the 2009 World Championships; Richardson's suspension is only weeks prior to the scheduled start of the games.
The US Anti-Doping Agency regards Richardson's case a "substance of abuse."
The photo was taken at a party at the University of South Carolina in November 2018. He competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and garnered eight gold medals.
Difference in Legality
Richardson smoked marijuana in a state (Oregon) where it is deemed legal. When Phelps' photo emerged, non-medical use of marijuana was illegal across the country. However, that does not seemingly factor into the penalty.