Sha’carri Richardson has bounced back after her Tokyo Olympic dreams were dashed, with help from Kanye West and Rihanna.
After a positive marijuana test saw her banned for 30 days, disqualified from the women’s 100m and skipped over for a spot on the 4x100m relay, Richardson returned to the spotlight for a major new campaign.
She resurfaced in the early hours of Wednesday (21 July) for a defiant advertisement for Beats by Dre, which also marked Kanye West’s musical comeback, before having banter with Rihanna herself.
So, safe to say she’s doing pretty well.
“Don’t have to miss me for too much longer,” Richardson wrote in an Instagram story ahead of the ad going live.
“[Sha’carri Richardson] doesn’t need you to let her do anything,” Beats wrote on Twitter.
.@itskerrii doesn’t need you to let her do anything.
— Beats by Dre (@beatsbydre) July 21, 2021
In the ad, Richardson sprints across the track in Nike cleats while wearing – you guessed it – Beats by Dre earbuds to the tune of Kanye West’s comeback track, “No Child Left Behind”.
“Live Your Truth”, the advert concludes.
Ahead of the release, the 21-year-old also shared a photograph of herself on Instagram posing in front of an aggressively comfortable-looking bed.
None other than Rihanna took the opportunity to shade the Olympics, which has supplied athletes with cardboard beds. No, we’re really not kidding here. They’re literally made of cardboard.
Rihanna commented on the post, writing: “Yassss for the non-cardboard bed.”
Sha’carri Richardson, track sensation, barred from Tokyo Olympics
Sha’carri Richardson was a gold medal favourite until she was suspended for one month after testing positive for marijuana.
This nullified her victory in the women’s 100m race at the US track and field Olympics trials in Oregon earlier that month.
Her ban ends before the women’s 4x100m relay, however her name was left off the roster for USA Track and Field, even though the national body said it was “incredibly sympathetic toward Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstance” – she had smoked after learning of the death of her biological mother.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced on 2 July that Richardson had tested positive for marijuana and that she had accepted the suspension.
“I just say, don’t judge me and I am human — I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster,” Richardson told NBC that day. She stressed that those criticising her for her marijuana usage “don’t necessarily understand, and I wouldn’t even call them haters”.
She said she used weed, which is legal in the state of Oregan, to help cope with her mother’s death, having been raised by her grandmother.
“It sent me into a state of emotional panic,” she said.
“I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time.”
Sha’Carri Richardson celebrates winning the Women’s 100 Meter final with grandmother Betty Harp. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Marijuana is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances. The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee are signatories to the WADA code.
It is strictly banned only during in-competition periods, with the USADA, a fellow WADA code signatory, saying it enhances performances.
If an athlete tests positive for a substance banned by the agency, they face up to a four-year ban. But if the sportsperson can prove that the drug-taken was not related to their performance and is willing to undergo treatment, this is reduced to just 30 days.