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USA | Jul 4, 2021

Sha’Carri Richardson must see to it that her career doesn’t go up in a puff of smoke

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

FILE PHOTO: Jun 19, 2021; Eugene, OR, USA; Sha’Carri Richardson celebrates after winning the women’s 100m in 10.86 during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“I’ve lived to be,
The very best.
I want it all,
No time for less.
I’ve laid the plans,
Now lay the chance,
Here in my hands”

“Give me one moment in time,
When I’m more than I thought I could be,
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away,
And the answers are all up to me.
Give me one moment in time,
When I’m racing with destiny,
Then in that one moment of time,
I will feel…
I will feel eternity.”

One Moment in Time, Whitney Houston

US sprint star Sha’Carri Richardson has been forced to withdraw from the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics blue ribbon event where she was tipped to be a contender for a gold medal, because she smoked weed weeks before the prestigious games.

The 21-year-old athlete tested positive for THC and admitted to smoking marijuana. The US Anti-Doping Agency has now imposed a month-long ban on Richardson which began on June 28.

All the hard work she put in at team trials to qualify for the Olympics now counts for nothing and it seems unlikely that she will be allowed to participate in the 4x100m relay which takes place after her suspension.

Richardson said she turned to weed after her mother had passed away as she was going through a difficult time.

“I want to take responsibility for my actions. I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do and what I am not allowed to do and I still made the decision but I am not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case but just being in that position in my life, finding out something like that I would say, it’s one of the biggest things that impacted me positively in my life, when it comes to dealing with the relationship that I have with my mother and so that was a very heavy thing for me,” Richardson told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show.

Sha’Carri Richardson appearing on the NBC’s ‘Today Show’ on Thursday, July 1.

It must be a trying time for the young track star and people cope with grief in different ways. Nevertheless, Richardson should have guiding influences around her, those that can ensure she is maximizing on her gifts and protects her from malevolence threatening to derail her.

Smoking weed just before the Olympics was wrong and detrimental to her career. It has been estimated that it could cost her as much as US$100 million in lost deals.

US athletes have allied and proclaimed that Richardson is being wrongly vilified. Some say she is being punished unjustly.

Dwayne Wade, Damian Lillard, Odell Beckham, Patrick Mahomes II, Jalen Rose and Sydney Leroux among others have taken to social media in support.

Even the comedian Seth Rogen waded into this matter, announcing, “The notion that weed is a problematic “drug” is rooted in racism. It is insane that Team USA would disqualify one of this country’s most talented athletes over thinking that’s rooted in hatred. It’s something they should be ashamed of. Also, if weed made you fast, I’d be Flo-Jo.”

But they all know that an athlete’s time at the top is short and one has to make the most of time. A sprinter is lucky to get ten years performing and winning at the highest level.

Importantly greater efforts are now being made to flush out drugs and opioids from sports – no exceptions.

The woke brigade, BLM movement and media elites have been quick to say that Richardson is being persecuted rather than counselling the young lady to be mindful of her career and how she comports herself.

Athletics – Diamond League – Gateshead – Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead, Britain – May 23, 2021 Sha’Carri Richardson of the U.S. celebrates winning her women’s 100m heat REUTERS/Lee Smith

Top sponsors will run a mile from dope fiends and personalities that are an anathema to their brands.

It’s not enough simply to be able to run fast.

Usain Bolt and his team always understood this. His ability, charisma, success and clean-living lifestyle alchemized to make him a genuine world superstar guaranteed a pay-day for many years to come.

Other sprint queens like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah both older than Richardson, realise the value of the image they project and know they cannot afford to be on the wrong side of the tracks with their brand.

“I will just say that I am human, I want to be as transparent as possible with you guys. Don’t judge me, I am human. I just happen to run a little faster,” declared Sha’Carri Richardson.

Well, yes and no to that.

Yes, a young lady, human, born to make mistakes. At 21, she can bounce back from this by showing contrition, endearing herself to the world and not have her accomplishments being questioned by continuing drug use.

No, because greater standards are expected of you. Superstar status is not conveyed to everybody, there is a price to be paid. Richardson is not too young to grasp this.

We all know how it ended for Marion Jones and Ben Johnson. It would be a pity if Richardson went the same route – ignominy and a pariah.

The words of CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency Travis T. Tygart are particularly noteworthy and Richardson must pay attention to them.

Jun 19, 2021; Eugene, OR, USA; Sha’Carri Richardson (middle) celebrates after defeating Gabby Thomas (left) and Javianne Oliver to win the women’s 100m in 10.86 during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels; hopefully her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her.”

Richardson must surround herself with good agents, managers and people who have her best interests at heart to steer her career and banish the demons that mean her no good.

Such a prodigious talent should not, must not be allowed to go awry during this moment in time which may very well determine her future.

“You’re a winner for a lifetime,
If you seize that one moment in time,
Make it shine…”

One Moment In Time


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