The Sha'Carri Richardson Olympic Disqualification Scandal Explained

Track and field star Sha'Carri Richardson was the American favorite to take home the gold at this year's Tokyo Olympics. However, she was benched after testing positive for marijuana. According to Us Weekly, the sprinter secured a spot on the USA team after clocking in at 10.86 seconds during the women's 100-meter race at the Olympic trials in Oregon. While she won the qualifying heat, when drug tested, Richardson tested positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana. This led to a one-month suspension that began on June 28. Unfortunately, the Olympics begin on July 23, which is before Richardson's suspension is lifted.

While recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon, where Richardson was during the Olympic trials, it is banned as a "substance of abuse" by the World Anti-Doping Code, according to Time. After Richardson's suspension, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a statement that read in part, "The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels."

The only event at this year's Summer Games that Richardson could have participated in was the women's 4x100m relay race, but People reports that when USA Track and Field released the official roster, Richardson was not on it. They explained their decision in a statement, writing, "While our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha'Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams by securing a place on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team." Despite the blows, Richardson has managed to keep her head high and take accountability.

Sha'Carri Richardson says she's human

Track star Sha'Carri Richardson immediately took accountability after a positive marijuana test got her suspended from the Tokyo Olympics. The day her results went public, the athlete tweeted, "I am human." She later apologized on "The Today Show," saying, "I just want to take responsibility for my actions, I know what I did." She continued, "I know what I'm supposed to do and [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."

Richardson also revealed that she had found out during an interview that her biological mother had died before the Olympic trials and used marijuana to cope. She explained, "We all have our different struggles. We all have our different things we deal with, but to put on a face, to have to go in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain ... Who am I to tell you how to cope when you're dealing with pain?" She added, "Don't judge me, because I am human. I'm you, I just happen to run a little faster."

While Richardson isn't going to Tokyo, she dished (via Reuters) that she has "plenty of Games left in me to compete in." She also looked ahead to another competition, tweeting, "I'm sorry, I can't be y'all Olympic Champ this year but I promise I'll be your World Champ next year." With that attitude, Richardson is still a role model.