American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who will be back in action this weekend after a month-long ban, says that while her cannabis test positive kept her from attending the Tokyo Olympics, she is happy to be involved in her sport Paid attention.
The flamboyant American sprinter was expected to be one of the biggest draws in Tokyo, but her dreams were dashed due to a positive test at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June after riding the 100m to victory.
Richardson’s ban dominated the pre-Tokyo Olympics storylines, and while it cost her a potentially career-defining moment, she said something good had come of it.
“I’m excited for … the attention I’ve paid to the sport, be it negative or positive, just for the fact that people are watching now,” said Richardson at the Diamond League event in Portland, Oregon.
“I know that a lot of athletes wish we had more attention in the sport, we want people to pay more attention.”
Richardson will get a chance to prove her courage on Sunday (New Zealand time) as she will be competing in a race that will include all three Tokyo 100m medalists Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson the same distance.
The 21-year-old American said that despite her lack of competition lately, she was ready to compete against six of the eight women who competed in the 100m final in Tokyo.
“It’s training, it went well, whatever the situation, I have no complaints,” said Richardson. “My talent hasn’t gone anywhere so I’m just ready to get back on track.”
Richardson won the US exams in June with a time of 10.86 seconds and wanted to become the first American to win the 100-meter Olympic crown since Gail Devers in 1996. Marion Jones won in 2000 but was later stripped of her title for doping.
After the news of her test positive, Richardson said she used marijuana as a coping mechanism after learning of her biological mother’s death.
During a press conference where she sat next to the trio of Jamaicans who took the 100-meter podium in Tokyo, Richardson, who swapped her orange hair for platinum blonde this week, said she was looking forward to the challenge.
“Two of the women sitting here are two of the fastest women to have ever done the sport, so I’m honored to be on stage with them, but I’m not affected by the star,” said Richardson, referring to Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce.
“I aim to fight them and get the best out of them and I hope they can get the best out of me.”
New Zealander Tom Walsh also competes in the shot put at the meeting in Oregon.