Ready to Return, Sha’Carri Richardson Said Her Suspension “Doesn’t Take Away From Who I Am”

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Sha’Carri Richardson is busy preparing for her first track meet since testing positive for marijuana and accepting the month-long suspension that took her out of the Olympics. But as she prepares for a showdown with all three 100m Olympic medalists at the Prefontaine Classic this weekend, Richardson is also reflecting on the last few months since she shot to stardom at the Olympic Trials.

It was a “moment of bitterness,” Richardson said of watching the Olympics go on without her, but it also gave her extra motivation. “Watching it made me want to push forward and grow,” she explained on the Today Show this morning.

Richardson ingested marijuana as a coping mechanism after the death of her biological mother, and she expressed acceptance of her suspension after testing positive. “I know what I did. I know I’m responsible,” she said. The suspension ignited a debate over the rules barring athletes from using marijuana, and Richardson joined other high-profile athletes like Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles in speaking out about mental health. “[Athletes] want to perform for you guys and put on the best performance,” she said, “but at the same time, we’re here just like you are. When we step off the track . . . we go live life just like you do. It’s just that for a certain amount of time, we just look like superheroes.”

With her suspension over, Richardson is now “overjoyed” to be back on the track and competing, ready to put on a show once again. “I did make a mistake, but that doesn’t take away from my talent,” she said. “That doesn’t take away from who I am.”

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