Olympic Hopeful Sha'Carri Richardson Shares Major Regret With 'Today Show' Interview

Track and field athlete Sha'Carri Richardson says that she regrets her interview on The Today Show last summer. Richardson spoke to Savannah Guthrie in July of 2021 shortly after she was suspended from United States' Olympic team over a drug test. On Tuesday, June 21, 2022, Richardson retweeted that interview and remarked on how she regrets it now.

"I wish I never did this. I wish I had the choice when it was time for me to tell my story," Richardson wrote this week. She did not elaborate on what she meant, though she was active on Twitter in the days that followed. Richardson was expected to be a star at the belated 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, but a drug test on July 1 showed signs of cannabis-use in her system. Richardson was then ineligible to compete in the Olympics and was required to complete a counseling program followed by a one-month period of ineligibility.

Richardson's case has been hotly debated in the year since her suspension. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) considers marijuana a banned substance, though Richardson's drug test was administered in Oregon where recreational use of marijuana is legal. Of course, her suspension led to some discussion about whether cannabis could be considered a "performance enhancer" in any way. WADA stopped testing for alcohol in January of 2018, and many critics believe that cannabis should be treated in the same way.

Richardson explained to Guthrie on The Today Show that her biological mother died one week before her Olympic qualifying race. She herself learned this news from a reporter who asked her for a statement about it. She implied that the confusing emotions brought on by this loss were a part of the reason for her failed drug test.

"I know what I did. I know what I'm supposed to do... I still made that decision," she told Guthrie. However, since then Richardson has been an outspoken critic of WADA and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) herself. Days before retweeting her Today Show interview, she made posts about the agencies' lack of public transparency and internal issues.

Richardson was also outspoken in February when the International Olympic Committee allowed Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva to compete at the Beijing Olympics in spite of testing positive for a heart drug called trimetazidine. At the time, Richardson wrote: "The only difference I see is I'm a black young lady." The IOC responded by saying that there is no relation between these two instances.