American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson has made her first public appearance since testing positive for marijuana at the Team USA Olympic track and field trials in June.
Richardson, 21, walked the red carpet at the ESPYS Awards on Saturday evening in New York City.
The athlete had been expected to be a major draw at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
She had previously accepted a one-month ban on participating in events after testing positive for cannabis, but the suspension was set to end before the 4×100-meter relay event, leading some to hope she could still compete.
American track and field sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson heads to the ESPYS on Saturday night
Sha’Carri Richardson appeared in public in at the ESPYS Awards in New York
She was expected to be one of the biggest draws at the upcoming Tokyo Games
But on Tuesday, USA Track and Field announced that it would not allow her compete in the relay either.
On Saturday evening, the sprinter appeared at the awards show held at The Rooftop at Pier 17 at the Seaport in downtown Manhattan.
Richardson ran the women’s 100m race in 10.86 seconds at the trials in Oregon on June 19 but she was disqualified due to her failed drug test.
She was forced to accept a one-month suspension, which started on June 28 meaning she would miss the Games.
Officials on Tuesday announced that Richardson, 21, would not be selected to run in the 4×100-meter relay in Tokyo, after she was previously banned from the 100-meter dash over her marijuana use
Sha’Carri Richardson celebrates after winning the women’s 100m in 10.86 during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field in Oregon last month
Richardson ran the women’s 100m race in 10.86 seconds at the trials in Oregon on June 19 but she was disqualified due to her failed drug test
Richardson had previously spoken about using marijuana to cope with the loss of her biological mother who had passed away only the week before track trials.
‘First and foremost, we are incredibly sympathetic toward Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstances and strongly applaud her accountability – and will offer her our continued support both on and off the track. 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,’ USA Track & Field said in a statement.
‘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,’ the statement read.
Last Sunday, Richardson thanked her supporters in a tweet
Following the announcement that Richardson would not compete in the 4×100-metre relay, she tweeted that there has been more attention on the track team in recent weeks, and ‘you can’t be mad at that’
Following the announcement, Richardson tweeted: ‘The attention that is on track now and was because of very, very few names. So if that’s where fans support lay, you can’t be mad at that.’
‘I just say don’t judge me because I am human,’ she told NBC’s Today Show on Friday. ‘I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster.’
Richardson explained that she was not using her mother’s death to excuse her actions.
Marijuana is legal in Oregon, so she didn’t break any laws, but she did know the potential consequences of using the drug.
‘I want to apologize for my actions,’ she said. ‘I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do. 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 visibly celebrated her success at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon, but was soon found to have tested positive for marijuana use
Richardson’s incredible athletic prowess saw her compared to iconic sprinter Florence ‘Flo-Jo’ Griffith-Joyner.
In a glowing profile published last month, Vogue favorably compared Richardson to Flo-Jo, and highlighted how the two star athletes even shared a penchant for long, lavishly-decorated fingernails.
Flo-Jo became an athletics megastar after winning gold in the 100m, 200m and relay at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
She died aged just 38 in September 1998 after suffering a massive epileptic seizure in her sleep.
Flo-Jo was also accused of using performance-enhancing drugs after a rapid improvement in her form ahead of the 1998 games, but passed all drug tests she took while competing.
Several politicians have since expressed their support for Richardson, who thanked her fans in a series of tweets over the weekend.
‘The support my community I thank y’all, the negative forget y’all and enjoy the games because we all know it won’t be the same,’ she tweeted on July 4.
‘I’m sorry, I can’t be y’all Olympic Champ this year but I promise I’ll be your World Champ next year.’
She added: ‘All these perfect people that know how to live life, I’m glad I’m not one of them!’
Richardson also retweeted a post that reads: ‘People talking about ‘rules are rules’ but half of y’all couldn’t even abide by public health guidelines during a pandemic.’
Richardson’s penchant for long, lavishly-decorated nails saw her compared to megastar Olympic sprinter Florence ‘Flo-Jo’ Griffith-Joyner, who won three gold medals at Seoul in 1988