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VERIFY: Who suspended Sha'Carri Richardson?

Which agency handed down the sprinter's one-month suspension? Was it Team USA, the International Olympics Committee, or someone else?

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Twenty-one-year-old Sha’Carri Richardson became one of the fastest women in the world after dominating the 100 meter dash at the U.S. Olympic trials in June.

Richardson crossed the finish line in 10.86 seconds, solidifying her position as the 8th fastest female 100-meter dasher in world history, according to the USA Track and Field. Richardson surpassed Javianne Oliver, who came in second place, by a margin of just 0.13 seconds. 

Fans were shocked when news broke that the sprinter had been suspended for one month following a positive THC test, effectively knocking her out of the Tokyo Olympics.

Confusion followed over who exactly made the call to suspend her: some blamed the International Olympics Committee while others pointed to the U.S. team.


Who suspended Sha'Carri Richardson?


  • Travis T. Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) statement
  • U.S. Anti-Doping Agency statement, tweet and spokesperson
  • Jon Mason, Senior Director of Communications for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee
  • USA Track & Field statement and roster


The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspended Sha'Carri Richardson for a period of one month, beginning on June 28, 2021.


Our Verify researchers contacted the USADA and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, a.k.a. Team USA.

Both say it was the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that suspended Richardson, under international rules set by the larger World Anti-Doping Agency.

The USADA said that Richardson's qualifying results from the Olympic trials would be tossed out, too.

"Richardson’s competitive results obtained on June 19, 2021, including her Olympic qualifying results at the Team Trials, have been disqualified, and she forfeits any medals, points, and prizes," the statement reads. "Beyond the one-month sanction, athlete eligibility for the Tokyo Games is determined by the USOPC and/or USA Track & Field eligibility rules."

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In a statement, USADA's CEO Travis T. Tygart referenced two other Olympic hopefuls were suspended for anti-doping violations.

"Per the rules, she received the absolute minimum period of ineligibility, with the minimum being one month. We’ve had two other recent cases, Tate Jackson (swimming) and Kahmari Montgomery (track and field), involving THC positives that were resolved the exact same way – with a minimum one-month sanction and disqualification."

So we can Verify, USADA handed down the suspension, not Team USA.

Following Richardson's suspension, our Verify researchers saw some posts questioning whether Richardson could compete at all during the Olympics, like in the 400-meter relay, since technically her suspension ends a few days before track and field competitions begin.

But the USA Track and Field Team answered that question on July 6—She is not on their roster at all, including the relay. They explained their decision in a statement sent to our Verify researchers:

"While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games," the USA Track and Field statement said. "All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances."

RELATED: VERIFY: No, Michael Phelps did not test positive for marijuana before competing in the Olympics

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