(NEXSTAR) – It “stinks” that Sha’carri Richardson won’t be competing in the Tokyo Olympics, says White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Psaki’s remarks came during a Wednesday morning appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” during which she suggested “maybe” revising the rules that led to Richardson’s disqualification from running in the Olympic 100-meter race, and her subsequent removal from the 4X100-meter relay, after Richardson tested positive for marijuana.
Psaki was specifically responding to a question posed by “New Day” host John Berman, who asked whether it “stinks” that Richardson was removed from the relay despite not technically being disqualified from that particular race.
“It does stink,” Psaki responded. “And I don’t think there’s a better definition of it. She’s someone—as an Olympic-obsessed person myself, I know the president watches closely—who is inspiring.”
Psaki went on to say that the circumstances surrounding Richardson’s removal from the Olympic team were “sad,” as her previous performances at the Olympic Trials were “sending a message to a lot of little girls” that they, too, can accomplish their goals.
“We know the rules are where they are. Maybe we should take another look at them,” Psaki said before adding that she respects the decisions and rules of the Anti-Doping Agency and the Olympic Committee. “But it is sad, and we do wish her luck and look forward to seeing her running as the fastest woman in the world for years to come.”
Richardson was disqualified from the 100-meter race earlier this month after testing positive for chemicals found in marijuana. She later admitted to using marijuana as a means to cope with the recent death of her mother. Athletes competing for a spot on the Olympic team are prohibited from using marijuana, according to rules set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
As a result, Richardson was given a one-month suspension from competition by the agency, effectively barring her from the Olympic 100, but not necessarily the 4X100 relay, which would occur after the suspension ended. Ultimately, U.S.A. Track and Field—the national governing body of track and field events—decided to leave Richardson off Team USA entirely.
USATF, however, noted in their decision that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules “related to THC should be reevaluated” but defended their decision nonetheless.
“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,” the USATF wrote, in part. “So while our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams by securing a place on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team.”
In addition to Psaki and USATF, President Joe Biden, too, had questioned the rules regarding marijuana, specifically as in regard to Richardson, during a July 4 event in Michigan.
“The rules are the rules,” Biden said. “Everybody knew the rules going in. Whether they should remain the rule is a different issue. But, the rules are the rules, and I was really proud of the way she responded.”