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Laura Coates: That was hard to say with a straight face

By Steve Almasy and Jill Martin, CNN

US star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was left off the roster for the US track and field team that will compete at the Olympics in Tokyo, according to the team list released Tuesday by USA Track & Field (USATF).

Richardson had secured her spot at the Tokyo Olympics with a runaway victory in the women’s 100 meters at the US Olympic track and field trials last month. But she was suspended one month from the Olympic team after testing positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced last week.

The women’s 4×100-meter relay is scheduled after the suspension ends, but Richardson was not selected for the relay pool.

“First and foremost, we are incredibly sympathetic toward Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstances and strongly applaud her accountability — and will offer her our continued support both on and off the track,” a Tuesday statement from officials at USATF said.

“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,” USATF said.

CNN has reached out to the sprinter’s agent for comment.

Richardson said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show on Friday that she had used marijuana after finding out from a reporter that her biological mother had died.

“I was just thinking it would be a normal interview and then on the interview to hear that information come from a complete stranger, it was definitely triggering, it was nerve shocking because it’s like who are you to tell me that?” she told NBC.

“From there just blinded by emotions, blinded by bad news, blinded by just hiding hurt, honestly for the fact that I can’t hide myself, so at least in some type of way, I was trying to hide my pain,” she said.

USATF, the governing body of track and field in the US, said its credibility would be lost if rules were “only enforced under certain circumstances.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the USADA label cannabis as a banned substance as it “poses a health risk to athletes, has the potential to enhance performance and violates the spirit of sport.”

Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels and Jenna Prandini will compete in the 100 meters at the Tokyo Olympics, thanks to their finishes in the event at the trials. They will be part of the six-member relay pool, as will 100 meters alternate Gabby Thomas.

The pool also will include English Gardner, who finished sixth at the Olympic trials. She ran the third leg for the winning US team at the 2016 Olympics. The other pool member is Aleia Hobbs, who was seventh at the trials. She anchored the US gold medal squad at the 2019 World Relays.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Sports

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