Sha’Carri Richardson not on U.S. Olympic track and field team

Sha'Carri Richardson
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Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was not on the U.S. Olympic track and field roster announced Tuesday.

Richardson was retroactively disqualified from the Olympic Trials, where she won the 100m on June 19, because she tested positive for marijuana after the final. Marijuana is banned in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Richardson’s one-month ban began June 28, meaning it will expire during the Tokyo Games but before track and field competition starts.

Richardson can’t compete in the 100m at the Olympics because of her Trials DQ.

In the time between the positive test and the team announcement, USA Track and Field did not announce if Richardson would also be ineligible for the 4x100m relay pool availability, though its selection procedures state that chosen athletes must be eligible to represent the U.S. at the time of selection.

LIST: U.S. Olympic roster of qualified athletes in all sports

“While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games,” according to a USATF statement Tuesday. “All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances. So while our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams by securing a place on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team.”

Aleia Hobbs, a former LSU sprinter like Richardson, takes Richardson’s place in the relay pool after initially finishing seventh in the 100m behind Richardson at Trials. Generally, the top six at Trials make the relay pool, though there is room for discretionary selections.

Richardson’s agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, said he and the sprinter haven’t spoken about the USATF decision “at all,” according to The Associated Press.

“We have not focused on the relay,” Nehemiah said Friday, according to 3 Wire Sports. “I just felt that was not healthy for her to get excited about possibly being in Tokyo. I felt it would be a shock and a surprise. Her sights are going to be on the Prefontaine Classic [on Aug. 21].”

The U.S. Olympic track and field team also does not include reigning 100m hurdles gold medalist Brianna McNeal. She was allowed to race Trials while appealing a five-year ban. McNeal finished second to conditionally make the Olympic team, but last week her appeal was denied and five-year ban upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Gabbi Cunningham, fourth at Trials, replaces McNeal on the team.

Athletes were added in other events where it was not entirely clear who would be on the team because they didn’t have an automatic Olympic qualifying standard and/or had to wait for final world rankings to be published.

In women’s high jump, only winner Vashti Cunningham had the Olympic standard of the top three finishers.

Rachel McCoy and Tynita Butts-Townsend got the other two spots. They were the only other U.S. women who made it outright via world rankings, plus McCoy was the only other American with the Olympic standard who cleared a height at Trials. McCoy was fourth at Trials. Butts-Townsend was 14th.

Inika McPherson, second at Trials, is one point shy of the last woman to qualify outright for the Olympics via world rankings.

Others to qualify thanks to world rankings: Cole Hocker (1500m), Ariana InceMichael Shuey and Curtis Thompson (javelin), Kelsey Card (discus) and Nick Christie and Robyn Stevens (20km race walk). Christie qualified as the 60th and final entry via world rankings in his event.

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