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KOKOnista Of The Day: Sha’Carri Richardson Is The Sprint Sensation Everyone Will Miss At Tokyo Olympics

American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson is the gifted athlete that everyone will seriously miss after she’s left out of this year’s Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana.

Sha’Carri Richardson is an American track and field sprinter who competes in the 100 meters and 200 meters. Richardson rose to fame in 2019 as a freshman at Louisiana State University, running 10.75 seconds to break the 100 m record at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships. This winning time made her one of the ten fastest women in history at 19 years of age.

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As a teenager, she won the 100 m title at the AAU Junior Olympics – the largest national multi-sport event for youth in the United States – in 2016, then another title at the USA Track & Field Junior Championships in 2017. She made her international debut at the 2017 Pan American U20 Athletics Championships, where she won a gold medal in the 4 × 100-meter relay alongside Gabriele Cunningham, Rebekah Smith, and Tara Davis. She enrolled at Louisiana State University and began competing for the LSU Lady Tigers track and field team. Competing as a college athlete, she was a finalist in both the 60-meter dash and the 200 m the 2019 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships.

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At the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships she won the 100 m and placed runner-up in the 200 m by less than one hundredth of a second. Both her times were world under-20 records for the sprints. Her NCAA performance, which also included second in the 4 × 100 m relay, was the second best ever by a female sprinter, after Merlene Ottey.

Training with former sprinter Dennis Mitchell, she decided to forgo her collegiate eligibility – American college athletes are amateurs and may not accept payment – after her first year and turned professional.

In April 2021, Richardson ran a new personal best of 10.72 seconds, becoming the sixth fastest woman of all time and the fourth fastest American woman in history. She qualified for the 2021 Summer Olympics after winning the women’s 100-meter dash with 10.86 in the United States Olympic Trials.

Richardson qualified for the 2021 Summer Olympics with a 100-meter time of 10.86 seconds at the 2021 United States Olympic Trials. It was 0.13 seconds faster than Javianne Oliver, who finished second. Shortly before the Tokyo Olympics, she tested positive for marijuana, which put her participation in doubt. After successfully completing a counseling program, she accepted a one-month period of ineligibility that began on June 28, 2021. While Richardson will be ineligible for the Olympic 100 meters due to a 30-day suspension that ends July 27, 2021, she could have been eligible for the Women’s 4 × 100 relay scheduled for August 5, 2021. However, she was not selected, thereby missing the Olympics entirely.

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Sha’Carri Richardson

Richardson stated that she took the drug to cope with the pressure of qualifying for the Olympics while mourning the recent death of her mother. Her suspension was criticized by many individuals and organisations globally. U.S. President Joe Biden later suggested that drug testing rules governing athletes may be changed, although he supported Richardson’s suspension for breaking the rules.

Photo Credit: Getty

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