Sha'Carri Richardson ready for comeback run against women's 100m Olympic podium
Following marijuana suspension, sprinter makes highly-awaited return in Saturday's Prefontaine Classic
American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson, who will return to the track this weekend after a month-long suspension, said on Friday she is ready to "push forward" after a positive marijuana test kept her from competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
Richardson, speaking on NBC's Today morning show, had been a favourite to grab the women's 100 metres title in Tokyo and said missing out on what could have been a career-defining moment ultimately proved bittersweet.
"It was a moment of bitterness, but at the same time it was sweet because it just gives me more time, it gives me more to show the world that I'm here to stay," Richardson, 21, said on the program.
"And it just guarantees that I'm going to be here just a little bit longer in the game, but definitely watching it made me want to push forward and just grow from that."
Richardson won the U.S. trials in June with a time of 10.86 seconds and was aiming to become the first American woman to win the Olympic 100m crown since Gail Devers in 1996. Marion Jones won in 2000 but was later stripped of her title for doping.
WATCH | Richardson returns to track at Prefontaine Classic:
But Richardson consumed marijuana at some point before her race in Oregon and later apologized and explained that her use of the drug was as a coping mechanism after learning about the death of her biological mother.
"I know I'm responsible, and I'm here to take what it is that I have to take from the choices that I decided to make," Richardson told the Today program.
"You can't run from reality, it's still going to be there no matter how long you choose to ignore it, no matter how long you choose to think it's going to go away."
Richardson's ban dominated U.S. storylines ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and reignited debate about cannabis being on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list given many experts agree it does not enhance speed, strength, power or precision.
"If those rules do change, I'm just blessed and proud of the fact I could do that for other athletes," she added.
Richardson also said she is in a better place and eager to get back to competition.
"I'm doing a whole lot better, and I'm actually proud to just continue on this journey getting better," she said. "We want to perform for you guys and we want to put on the best performance for you guys, but at the same time, we're here, just like you are.
"When we step off the track, when we step off the football field, when we step off the court, we go live life just like you do. It's just for a certain amount of time we just look like super heroes."
'That doesn't take away from who I am'
In her first race back at the Diamond League meet in Oregon on Saturday, Richardson will line up against six of the eight women who raced in the 100m final in Tokyo, including the three Jamaican women who earned a sweep of the medals.
"With this first race coming back, it's a thank you, because at the end of the day I did make a mistake but that doesn't take away from my talent, that doesn't take away from who I am," she said.