The next day, she spoke out during an interview on the Today show, sharing, “I want to take responsibility for my actions… I know what I did, I know what I’m supposed to do, I know what I’m allowed not to do, and I still made that decision.”
Richardson explained that she turned to cannabis after learning from a reporter that her biological mom had died, just one week before the Olympic trials in Oregon. She went into a state of “emotional panic,” she said, adding, “It’s definitely triggering.”
The Nike athlete admitted she was “just blinded by emotions, blinded by bad news, blinded by just hurting.”
She went on to apologize to her supporters, saying, “I would like to say to my friends, to my family, to my sponsorship—to the haters too, I apologize… As much as I’m disappointed, I know that when I step on the track, I don’t represent myself. I represent a community that has shown me great support, great love.”
Richardson later took to Twitter to connect with fans that had hoped she’d be able to participate despite the drug rules. “I’m sorry, I can’t be y’all Olympic Champ this year but I promise I’ll be your World Champ next year,” she wrote, while telling the “negative” social media users to “enjoy the games because we all know it won’t be the same.”
This year’s track and field roster includes 81 first-time Olympians and 13 defending medalists from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.