American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson has been banned from the 100-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics, following her failing a drug test.
Earlier today the news broke that the athlete had tested positive for THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. The twenty-one-year-old star, dubbed "The Fastest Woman Alive", confirmed the test results in an interview with TODAY.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency then released a statement that said the discovery of drugs in Richardson's system invalidated her victory in the 100-meter race at the Olympic Trials, meaning she forfeits the right to compete in the same race at the Olympic Games, New York Times reports.
It is still possible that Richardson could compete in the 4x100 meter relay race, as her 1 month suspension would be up by then. The final decision for her participation would lie with the U.S.A. Track & Field, however.
Speaking out about her ban, the sprinter told TODAY: "I just say, don't judge me and I am human — I'm you, I just happen to run a little faster.
"I want to take responsibility for my actions. 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.
"It's never been a steroid. It will never be a steroid attached to the name Sha'Carri Richardson. The charge and what the situation was is marijuana.
"I greatly apologize if I let you guys down, and I did."
I am human
— Sha'Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) July 1, 2021
She then went on to explain that her use of marijuana was to cope with the death of her biological mother.
"It sent me into a state of emotional panic," she said. "I didn't know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time."
From the star's interview, it's clear to see her sorrow following the incident, though some fans feel let down by her actions.
Richardson understands the weight of the pressure fans put on the shoulders of athletes representing their countries, though she isn't looking for any excuses.
"[I'm] not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case, but, however, being in that position in my life, finding out something like that, something that I would say is probably one of the biggest things that have impacted me... that definitely was a very heavy topic on me," she added.
"People don't understand what it's like to have to... go in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain. Who am I to tell you how to cope when you're dealing with the pain or you're dealing with a struggle that you haven't experienced before or that you thought you never would have to deal with?"
The twenty-one-year-old's ban officially started on June 28th, which she has accepted and will serve in full.