Open Letter to Sha’Carri Richardson
Girl, they can not deny you your greatness because it’s already in you.
I have been a fan of track and field since I was a little girl watching Carl Lewis and FloJo beat the world at their respective Olympic Games. Those two were at the top of their field, setting records and leaving other runners in the dust. I was amazed by their athleticism, their power, and prowess. I even tried my hand at running and soon realized that my talents were not on the track. My speed comes through my fingers as I write this letter to you.
Now it is your turn, Sha’Carri. And you’ve already shown the world that you have what it takes to join the long tradition of Black athletes, especially track athletes, to make history. You are greatness personified and no one can take that away from you. Not the Olympic Committee or the US Track & Field Association.
When I first learned of your 30-day suspension by the Olympic Committee for having the substance THC in your system, I was shocked. You were of age, in Oregon, a state where marijuana was legal, and it wasn’t a performance-enhancing drug. Your gift of speed came from many years of training, hard work, and practice. Marijuana was not going to improve upon what was already great. Yet, the OC suspended you anyway.
At first, the suspension would only deny you a chance at the 100-meter race. You could still run in the relays. You accepted the suspension with grace and dignity. I applaud your handling of this unfair situation. But then here comes the US Track & Field Association, presenting its roster for the US Olympic Team and your name wasn’t on the list. I was like, “WTF?!”
The US Olympic Committee decided that a 30-day suspension and missing the 100-meter race wasn’t enough. Now, you’re out of the Tokyo Games altogether. This is a travesty of justice. It’s not fair! The punishment doesn’t fit the violation. You would think the US Olympic Committee would want the fastest woman in the world on the team. Your chances of medaling at the Games is nearly 100%. All this because you smoked some weed?! Come on! It’s not like you cheated or try to take out a rival. No one was harmed by you indulging in some herb. No one died! But yet, the powers that be want to kill your career.
I hope you have the opportunity to appeal this decision. You deserve to be on the US Olympic team. Your skills deserve to be on the world stage. How dare they deny you your glory! I want to cuss out each and every one of them involved in this decision. You should be allowed to run in the Games! These fools shouldn’t be allowed to harm your career!
Whatever happens, going forward, you have a fan in me. I love to see my sistas and brothas at the Games. I love the competition and the chance for our people to shine. I want to see Black and Brown Americans standing atop the podium. These games have been so full of drama and they haven’t even started yet! It’s like they know Black and Brown athletes from America are going to dominate almost every event and they keep throwing obstacles in their way. That’s ok. Our people have been dealing with obstacles for over 400 years. We always find a way to overcome them. You will find a way to overcome this obstacle, Sha’Carri.
Keep on shining, Champion!