United States track star Sha’Carri Richardson earned a spot to the Tokyo Games for the upcoming Olympics after she won the women’s 100-meter race. Her spot, however, was revoked after Richardson failed a drug test after the qualifying victory, testing positive for THC. From the excitement in Eugene, Oregon at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials came a quick disappointment when she learned of her disqualification.
Following her positive drug test results, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is forcing Richardson to forfeit all medals, points, and prizes. This is a huge letdown for both track and field fans and cannabis enthusiasts. While the ban only applied to the sprinter’s signature 100-meter individual race, USA Track and Field released the Olympic roster for the relay team and Richardson was left off. Since the USATF chose to exclude her from the relay team, Richardson will miss the Olympics all together.
Richardson released a statement explaining that she used cannabis as a coping mechanism after the recent loss of her mother. This situation has caught the attention of the world. Cannabis users and non-users have weighed in their opinions, many calling on the need for the international rules to change. With a growing number of states in the U.S. legalizing marijuana and over 30 countries around the globe with some form of legalized marijuana, it seems long overdue for the rules to change.
Cannabis has helped professional athletes for many, many years. From the NFL to the NBA, star athletes have pointed to the role that cannabis plays in their ability to manage their anxieties, recover physically, and remain focused on their sport. In addition, many professional athletes have noted that using marijuana helps them to avoid the use of pain killers. All in all, cannabis has been instrumental for many athletes in a variety of sports.
The irony of being disqualified for using cannabis, not a performance-enhancing drug, must also be noted. It seems like it is well overdue for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to reconsider their list of prohibited substances. In the modern world, there is no place for cannabis on that list. We wish Sha’Carri Richardson all of the luck in her future endeavors and look forward to seeing her in the next Olympics.