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The rules on the use of cannabis by athletes should be reviewed, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe suggested on Tuesday. The comments came in light of sprint star, Sha’Carri Richardson’s one-month suspension for testing positive for the recreational drug. She will miss the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Would public and media pressure have mounted if the athlete was slower and perhaps less flamboyant? The sport needs its stars. With the retirement of Usain Bolt, sprinting is missing its primary attraction. Sha’Carri, young, fast, and ostentatious was going to carry that mantle; to fill that void left by Bolt’s retirement.
Richardson was hoping to become the first American in 25 years to win the women’s 100m Olympic gold medal. The last to do so was Marion Jones who was stripped of the 2000 Sydney Olympic gold medal.
Richardson won the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon at Hayward Field. Apparently, she smoked cannabis after finding out about the death of her mother. Her relationship with her mother is shrouded in mystery. They may have been estranged at the time of her death. Therefore its use was recreational in nature.
I am up right now losing my mind 😍😍😍🥺🥺!!!! https://t.co/Ox1rtuct4y— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) June 23, 2021
Richardson has garnered support from more than just Coe, she has also heard from US President Joe Biden, and former first lady Michelle Obama.
It is too late for Tokyo, however, Richardson is young, and the World Championships, Olympics, and professional meets will be on her schedule over the next three years. Richardson will be very visible very soon.
“It should be,” Coe told a small group of reporters on Tuesday when asked if the rule should be reviewed. “It is sensible, as nothing is set in tablets of stone.”
“You adapt and occasionally reassess. The Athletics Integrity Unit is absolutely the best organisation to look at this,” said Coe, a former double Olympic 1500m champion.
“I have spoken to (AIU chairman) David Howman about that. The AIU will look at this in the light of current circumstances.”
Cannabis’s role in performance may help calm the nerves of athletes who need to focus like shooting in biathlon, but it is a stretch to suggest that it will assist in a power and sprint event like the 100m. Its role in sport first came to light when Canadian snowboarder and gold medallist Ross Rebagliati tested positive at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, 23 years ago.