On Tuesday, USA Track and Field released its Olympic roster. If you comb through the list of names, you’ll find plenty of purveyors of Black excellence like high jumper JuVaughn Harrison, sprinter Trayvon Bromell, and the ridiculously fast Gabby Thomas. But sadly, one name you won’t see belongs to the next big thing in track and field: Sha’Carri Richardson.
After failing a drug test and in turn, losing her opportunity to compete in the 100-meter race during the Tokyo Olympics, there was a small glimmer of hope that since her 30-day suspension ends before the start of the relays on August 5, she would still have the chance to earn a medal as a member of the 4x100 relay team. But nope, because the devil is busy, ESPN reports that USATF opted not to offer either of its discretionary picks to the 21-year-old sprinter, who had a very real possibility of taking home Olympic gold.
“While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games,” USATF said in a statement on Tuesday. “All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances. So 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.”
Whatever. I hate it here.
Thankfully, as Richardson explained on Today last Friday when she revealed that her positive drug test was a result of using marijuana to cope with the loss of her mother and unfathomable expectations, she’s extremely young and her future remains brighter than ever.
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“This is just one Games,” she said. “I’m 21, I’m very young. [...] I have plenty of Games left in me to compete in and I have plenty of talent that backs me up because everything I do comes from me naturally. No steroids, no anything. This incident was about marijuana, so after my sanction is up I’ll be back and able to compete. And every single time I step on the track I’ll be ready for whatever anti-doping agency to come and get what it is that they need.”
Keep your head high, queen; and take however long you need to push through this adversity on your own time. We’ll still be your biggest cheerleaders upon your return.