The 21-year-old sprinter, who won the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field trials in Oregon last month, accepted a one-month suspension after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced the positive test result. While that suspension, which went into effect June 28th, will be over by the time the track and field events at the Tokyo games start, the positive test vacated Richardson’s victory at the trials, meaning she won’t be able to run in the 100-meter race. It’s possible she could still participate in other events, like the 4×100 meter relay, although she still needs to be named to the U.S. Olympic team.
In an interview on Today Friday, July 2nd, Richardson said she used marijuana while in Oregon for the Olympic trials as a way to cope with the sudden death of her biological mother. Her mother died a few days before the trials began, and Richardson learned about her death during an interview with a reporter. On Today, Richardson called her mother’s death “triggering” and said it sent her into “a state of emotional panic.”
“People don’t understand what it’s like to have to … go in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain,” Richardson said. “Who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with the pain or you’re dealing with a struggle that you haven’t experienced before or that you thought you never would have to deal with?”
Richardson added: “I want to take responsibility for my actions. I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do… and I still made that decision… Don’t judge me because I am human. I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster.”
U.S.A. Track and Field issued a statement calling Richardson’s situation “incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved.” The organization gave no indication as to whether Richardson might still be selected for other events at the Olympics.