Sha'Carri Richardson supporters call on IOC, WADA to reinstate sprinter

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American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson will not compete in the Tokyo Games this summer, but there are tens of thousands of people who have her back.

A petition circulated last week after Richardson was reported to have tested positive for marijuana. Signatures for the petition skyrocketed once she received the 30-day ban on Friday and then again after she was left off the Olympic relay team on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday night, the petition addressed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) received more than 60,000 signatures. 

“Sha’Carri Richardson is a track and field sprinter who is currently the fastest woman alive. Richardson is preparing to participate in her first Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Unfortunately, on July 1st, 2021, Richardson tested positive for marijuana. As a result, The World Anti-Doping Agency could suspend her for 30 days. Recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, including Oregon, where Richardson competed in the U.S. Olympic team trials and reportedly failed the drug test,” the petition reads.

“Additionally, cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug and could put a runner at more of a disadvantage during a race. Sha’Carri Richardson should not be barred from realizing her dream of competing in the 2021 Olympic Games. She did not gain any competitive advantage from the reported use of marijuana. Richardson and athletes everywhere should not be banned from competition for the use of a widely legalized drug. Please sign this petition to help Richardson fight to be allowed to compete in the Olympic games.”

Richardson admitted to using marijuana to help her cope with the death of her mother. The positive test nullified her victory at the Olympic trials and the spot for the 4×100-meter race went with it.

“We haven’t spoken about it at all. It was actually not a topic we focused on,” Richardson’s agent Renaldo Nehemiah said when asked how the sprinter is dealing with the fallout.

President Biden said last week he was proud of the way Richardson handled the ban, “the rules are the rules.”

“Whether they should remain the rules is a different issue, but the rules are the rules,” Biden said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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