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bring on the smoke

Sha’Carri Richardson to race 100-meter medalists from Tokyo Olympics at Prefontaine Classic bring on the smoke

Sha’Carri Richardson couldn’t race in the Olympics. Soon, she’ll race the medalists. 

Richardson missed the Tokyo Olympics after failing a drug test for marijuana after qualifying first at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency suspended her for a month and nullified her results in the trials on July 2. She later said she smoked after her biological mother died. 

Now, Richardson will race the Jamaicans that swept the 100-meter sprint in a meet on Aug. 21 in Eugene, Oregon. Richardson will face Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson in the Prefontaine Classic. 

The race will be a return to the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, the location of this year’s Olympic Trials where the 21-year-old Richardson posted a time of 10.86 seconds. The Prefontaine Classic race includes six of the eight women who raced in the 100-meter final in Tokyo.

Sha'Carri Richardson (center) celebrates after defeating Cambria Sturgis (left) and Kayla White to win a women's 100-meter semifinal in a wind-aided 10.64 during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field.

The race sets up a glimpse of what could have happened in Tokyo had Richardson not been suspended. Richardson’s suspension spurred a debate on whether marijuana belongs on the banned substances list

Richardson rose to fame in 2019 when, as a freshman at Louisiana State University, she broke the 100-meter record at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships.

In April 2021, Richardson ran a new personal best of 10.72 seconds at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, to win gold. She became the sixth-fastest woman of all time and the fourth-fastest American woman in history with that mark.

As a teenager in 2016, she won the 100-meter title at the AAU Junior Olympics. She won another title at the USA Track & Field Junior Championships in 2017.

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Richardson’s international debut was at the 2017 Pan American U20 Athletics Championships where she won a gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay. 


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From A version of this story originally appeared in the Aug. 28, 2021, issue of Billboard.

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