Sha’Carri Richardson has apologised after she revealed she used cannabis after finding out her biological mother had died just before trials, leading her to be banned from her Olympic race.
On Thursday news broke that Richardson had tested positive for chemical cannabis at the US Olympic trials last month.
Richardson won the 100m in June after completing it in 10.86 seconds but has since been prohibited from competing in that race due to the failed drugs test.
“I would like to say to my fans and my family and my sponsorship, to the haters too, I apologise,” she said during an interview on the Today show on Friday saying she wanted to take “responsibility”.
She added: “As much as I’m disappointed I know that when I step on the track I don’t represent myself I represent a community that has shown me great support, great love and to y’all I failed y’all.”
She went on to say that finding out from a reporter that her biological mother had died a few days before the trials had been “triggering” and sent her “a state of emotional panic.”
“(I’m) not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case, but, however, being in that position in my life, finding out something like that, something that I would say is probably one of the biggest things that have impacted me ... that definitely was a very heavy topic on me,” she said.
“So I apologise for the fact that I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time,” she later added in reference to her mother’s recent death.
“I was definitely triggered and blinded by emotions, blinded by badness, and hurting, and hiding hurt,” Richardson told the broadcaster.
The athlete said she wanted to be “as transparent as possible” and emphasised that she was not found to be using steroids but cannabis. Richardson was in Oregon at the time where cannabis use is legal.
“Don’t judge me, because I am human ... I just happen to run a little faster,” she added, reinforcing a statement she posted on Twitter on Thursday that read “I am human”.
Richardson said she intended to keep running and that she had “plenty of games left in [her]” and that when her sanction was up she would be returning to compete.
The sprinter accepted a 30-day suspension that ends 27 July meaning there is a chance she would be able to compete this year in the relay on 6 August.
The 21-year-old said she would be “grateful” for such an opportunity but if not she would be focusing on “healing herself”.
A three-month sanction was said to have been reduced to one month because she participated in a counseling program.
Cannabis is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada). It is not yet clear if the athlete will appeal the drug test results.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press