American sprinter banned from Olympic’s 100 meters race for taking marijuana, but why is it a prohibited substance?

Why is marijuana a prohibited substance in Olympic sports.

Sha’Carri Richardson, a medal favourite won run in the 100 meters race in Tokyo  (Instagram/Sha’Carri Richardson)

In a development that caused a social media storm, American track sensation Sha’Carri Richardson has been banned from partaking in the 100 meters race of the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo after she tested positive for marijuana.

With a month suspension already confirmed, Richardson’s participation at the Olympics as a whole is still a doubt following her ban.

The 21-year-old broke into American pop culture relevance when she won the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field trials in Oregon last month to become one of America’s representatives at the 100 meters’ event of the Olympics.

She dominated the opening weekend of the trials, drawing attention for her fantastic performances, her long orange hair and an emotional viral moment when she sprinted into the stands to hug her grandmother.

With a 10.86 seconds finish, she was an instant gold medal favourite in Tokyo.

But the marijuana found in her system after a test has now ensured she will not participate in her signature race after accepting a suspension of one month, starting on June 28.

In an interview with N.B.C. on Friday, July 2, 2021, she blamed the positive test on her use of marijuana as a way to cope with the unexpected death of her biological mother while she was in Oregon for the Olympic trials.

Richardson said she learned about the death from a reporter during an interview and called it triggering and nerve-shocking.

It sent me into a state of emotional panic, I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time,” she said.

She apologized to her fans, her family and her sponsors.

Several runners at the U.S. Olympic trials have moved up a spot in the final standings. The woman who finished fourth at the trials has been notified that she will now be one of the three American women running the 100 in Tokyo.

It is also now left for the U.S.A. Track & Field, the national governing body of the sport to decide if she would compete in the 4x100-meter relay even if she is ruled out of the individual race.

This was one of the questions asked by many who took to social media to protest Richardson’s ban.

Marijuana is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances. Both USADA and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) are signatories to the WADA code, meaning they follow its rules.

While we are heartbroken, the USOPC is steadfast in its commitment to clean competition and it supports the anti-doping code,” the organization said in a statement Friday morning.

A positive test for any banned substance comes with consequences and we are working with the USATF to determine the appropriate next steps. We are dedicated to providing Sha’Carri the support services she needs during this difficult time.”

Marijuana is banned only during in-competition periods, defined as beginning at 11:59 p.m. on the day before a competition and ending at its conclusion.

Athletes may have up to 150 nanograms per millilitre of T.H.C., the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana, without causing a positive test.

According to USADA, marijuana is a prohibited substance because it can enhance performance, it poses a health risk to athletes, and its use violates the spirit of the sport.

A suspension for testing positive for marijuana can be up to two years. The minimum length is a month if an athlete can prove the use of marijuana was not related to sports performance and if the person completes a substance abuse treatment program.


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