United States track star Sha'Carri Richardson appeared on the "TODAY" show Friday morning to explain her positive test for marijuana ahead of this summer's Tokyo Olympics.
Richardson won the women's 100 meters in 10.86 seconds at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Oregon last month. In her post-race interview, she revealed that he biological mother died about one week before competing at the event.
The 21-year-old learned of her mother's death a few days before the Trials during an interview with a reporter. She then ingested marijuana while in Oregon and said learning of her mother's death was "triggering" and "nerve-shocking."
"I want to take responsibility for my actions," Richardson said. "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."
She added: "Don't judge me because I am human."
Marijuana is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency during in-competition period. Athletes who test positive for marijuana can face a maximum suspension of up to two years.
If Richardson receives the minimum one-month suspension, she could still compete in the 4x100 meter relay depending on selection by USA Track and Field.
After it was announced that Richardson was suspended from the Olympic team, several athletes voiced their support for the young track star, including Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
After appearing on "TODAY," USA Track and Field released the following statement regarding Richardson:
"Sha'Carri Richardson's situation is incredibly unfortunate and devastating for everyone involved. Athlete health and well-being continue to be one of USATF's most critical priorities and we will work with Sha'Carri to ensure she has ample resources to overcome any mental health challenges now and in the future."
Richardson was hoping to become America's first gold medalist in the 100 meters since 1996. She won the NCAA title in 2019 with a record of 10.75 seconds before lowering her personal best to 10.72 in April.