After receiving a one-month suspension thanks to testing positive for cannabis, Olympic hopeful Sha’Carri Richardson’s appeared on NBC’s “Today” to explain what happened.
“I just want to take responsibility for my actions,” Richardson said on the Today Show. “I’m not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case.”
Last month, the 21-year-old won the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field trials in Oregon and was expected to make waves at this month’s Tokyo Olympics, but she could now miss competition.
Richardson was expected to make waves at this month’s Tokyo Olympics, but could now miss competition due to cannabis use.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced Friday that Richardson agreed to a one-month suspension that started on June 28. If added to the U.S. Olympic team, she would still be eligible to run in the 4×100 meter relay.
In Richardson’s NBC interview she attributed using cannabis to cope with the “nerve shocking” news of her biological mother’s death from a reporter during an interview.
“That sent me in a state of mind in the state of emotional panic,” she said.
Richardson said that it was stressful enough having to “put on a performance” in order to realize her dream of getting to compete, and contended that she handled the situation the only way she knew how.
“Who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with a pain or you’re dealing with a struggle that you’ve never experienced before, or that you’ve never thought you would have to do it?” she said. “Like who am I to tell you how to cope for them? Who am I to tell you that you are wrong for hurting?”
U.S.A. Track & Field released a statement concerning Richardson, saying that it “is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved,” and that they would “work with Sha’Carri to ensure she has ample resources to overcome any mental health challenges now and in the future.”
Watch the interview below: