Sha’Carri Richardson’s Tokyo dreams went up in smoke due to a positive test for cannabis
Flamboyant sprint star Sha’Carri Richardson wasn’t in Tokyo on Saturday for her eagerly anticipated Olympic debut within the women’s 100-meter race. TOKYO 2020: SHA’CARRI RICHARDSON SUSPENDED
The 21st-century Flo-Jo with painted nails, a flaming orange weave and blazing speed on the track isn’t welcomed at the Tokyo Games.
That’s what happens when an Olympic athlete gets caught smoking marijuana in 2021.
Richardson, 21, is serving a one-month suspension after testing positive for cannabis. She said she smoked to assist deal with news about the death of her birth mother.
Richardson watched from afar Saturday as Jamaican sprinters swept the medals in one among the Olympics’ showpiece races. Elaine Thompson-Herah broke Florence Griffith Joyner’s 33-year-old Olympic record with a time of 10.61 seconds.
Teahna Daniels of the University of Texas, the highest American, was seventh out of eight finalists. Richardson’s personal better of 10.72 seconds would are good for the silver Saturday.
TOKYO 2020: SHA’CARRI RICHARDSON SUSPENDED
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Richardson’s suspension has reopened a debate about what constitutes cheating. It also underscores once more hypocrisy within the Olympics.
One athlete is punished for employing a drug that’s legal in 19 states — including Oregon where Richardson tested positive.
Meanwhile, 334 Russian athletes are competing in Tokyo although their country is officially banned thanks to shocking state-sponsored doping abuses.
Major League Baseball, the NFL and NHL have removed penalties for marijuana use in recent years. The NBA does random tests for cannabis.
Sebastian Coe, president of track and field’s worldwide administration , publicly supported a review of marijuana’s status on the earth Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list.
“It should be,” Coe told reporters last week. “It’s sensible.“You adapt and infrequently reassess.’
Anti-doping officials cite three pillars for keeping marijuana on the banned list: enhancing performance, posing a health risk and violating the spirit of sport.
Marijuana’s inclusion as a banned drug began in Japan at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games when Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati tested positive for cannabis after winning the sport’s first trophy .
He claimed it had been a results of second-hand smoke. After first losing his medal, Rebagliati had it restored because the International Olympic Committee didn’t include marijuana on its banned list at the time.
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Rebagliati became a moment celebrity and now’s a cannabis entrepreneur.
The central question is why the drug is taken into account performance-enhancing within the first place.
It seems counterintuitive. General health concerns over marijuana use include a discount of eye-hand coordination, reduced motor coordination and loss of concentration — conditions that might hardly enhance athletic performance.
Edwin Moses, a member of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s board of directors, said the overall public often is confused about the meaning of “performance-enhancing.”
Anti-doping officials say the active chemical in marijuana — THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol — can decrease pain, anxiety and depression which successively could help athletes better perform struggling .
In the youth of drug testing, officials included beta-blockers and alcohol, substances that helped target shooters and biathletes steady their nerves to help performance. Cannabis arguably offers similar benefits.
Moses, one of the simplest 400 intermediate hurdlers in history, said sports officials also don’t need athletes competing while “high” thanks to the danger of great injury in events like diving, gymnastics and combat sports.
Others argue an equivalent might be true of alcohol, which isn’t banned. it had been away from the WADA list in 2018 within the four sports that banned its use.
Over the years, the edge for a positive cannabis test has been raised to A level that an athlete would wish to be “loaded” to be detected.
In other words, a positive test is at A level that doesn’t punish infrequent users; also, cannabis, marijuana and hashish are prohibited only during in-competition periods.
Richardson, who publicly apologized for her use, got a minimum suspension of 1 month by showing she didn’t take the drug with the intention to realize a plus . the utmost suspension is 2 years.
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The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has had a few of cannabis cases this year, including the suspension in June of Houston sprinter Kahmari Montgomery for one month.
Montgomery’s coach, former sprint great Leroy Burrell, declined to comment Friday on the case or the merits of getting cannabis on the prohibited list.
Anti-doping officials said it pained them to suspend Richardson, who became one of the marquee American athletes scheduled to compete in Tokyo after winning the 100 meters at the U.S. trials.
Richardson was raised by a grandmother in Texas. She learned about the death of her birth mom during an interview just before the track trials, she said.
The news sent Richardson into a state of emotional panic.
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Others may need turned to alcohol for relief. Richardson chose pot. Now she is paying the results .
U.S. track and field officials didn’t include Richardson on the Olympic team although the suspension will end before the women’s 4X100 meters relay this Friday in Tokyo.
“To remove a top athlete like that, we’re one among the few countries who would do this ,” Moses said.
Richardson has “has said all that must be said” her agent Renaldo Nehemiah wrote in an email Friday evening.
However, Richardson was difficult to ignore for the beginning of track and field, taking to Twitter after a U.S. mixed relay team almost was disqualified for a missed baton exchanged.
“Missing me yet?” she wrote.
Richardson’s absence was felt more profoundly Saturday on the track, Perhaps the sobering result — a seventh-place finish for the U.S. — will ignite more discussion of a problem that even caught the eye of President Joe Biden.
“The rules are the principles ,” Biden said in June. “Whether they ought to remain the principles may be a different issue, but the principles are the principles .”
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