WASHINGTON — U.S. sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson has been suspended for 30 days and will not be able to run the 100-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for a chemical found in marijuana.
Marijuana is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and United States Anti-Doping Agency in-competition period.
During an interview with the TODAY show on Friday morning, Richardson explained that she "wanted to take responsibility for her actions" and addressed the positive test.
"I know what I did, and I know what I was supposed to do and allowed not to do. I still made that decision," she said. "I'm not making any excuse or looking for any empathy."
She addressed how she was trying to cope after learning of the death of her biological mother shortly before the U.S. Olympic trials. She said she was "blinded by emotions" and needed to "hide the hurt."
Richardson accepted a 30-day suspension that ends July 27, which would be in time to run in the women’s relays at the Olympics. USA Track and Field has not disclosed plans for the relay. Richardson had what could have been a three-month sanction reduced to one month because she participated in a counseling program.
"Beware of the consequences," Richardson said when asked to address her fans who are disappointed by the news. "I just say, don't judge me because I am human... just happen to run a little faster."
Richardson dominated in the U.S. Olympic trials with a 10.64 second 100-meter in the semifinals, then ran it in 10.86 seconds in the finals.
USA Track and Field issued a statement about Richardson's situation: "Sha’Carri Richardson’s situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved. Athlete health and well-being continue to be one of USATF’s most critical priorities and we will work with Sha’Carri to ensure she has ample resources to overcome any mental health challenges now and in the future."
“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels; hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart.
Despite the positive test, it'll now be up to USA Track and Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee to decide whether she can still compete in the Tokyo Olympics in the women's 4x100-meter relay. Preliminaries are set for Aug. 5, after her one-month suspension ends.
Richardson said if she's allowed to run in the relay “I'm grateful, but if not, I'm just going to focus on myself.”
Jenna Prandini, the fourth-place finisher at trials, has been approached about replacing Richardson in the 100-meters. Prandini had already qualified for Tokyo in the 200-meters.
After the news broke of her positive marijuana test, she sends out a cryptic tweet Thursday, Richardson wrote "I am human."
Support for Richardson quickly grew online after the news, with the hashtag #LetHerRun trending on Twitter.
Richardson blew away the field at trials first in the semis in a wind-aided 10.64 seconds, then again in the final in 10.86.
Last month, American record-holder Shelby Houlihan announced she had received a four-year ban from the sport after testing positive for a prohibited steroid. Houlihan, who holds the U.S. records in the 1,500-meters and 5,000-meters, said she believed it was due to a pork burrito she ate hours before the test. There are many examples in recent years of tainted meat causing positives. Houlihan learned of the ban one week before the trials.
On June 3, runner Kahmari Montgomery accepted a one-month ban after testing positive for THC, according to USADA. The length of the ban, which USADA said was the minimum allowed, prevented her from taking part in the trials.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.