Including counter-culture sports activities isn’t sufficient to make the three-piece-suit-wearing, five-star-hotel-staying, mostly-white-male Olympic officers hip, cool or remotely in music with present norms.

Simply how got rid of from truth they’re was once introduced into sharp center of attention – once more – on Friday, when U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson approved a one-month “doping” suspension that may stay her out of the 100 meters on the Tokyo Olympics. The massive, dangerous drug that Richardson were given busted for? Marijuana.

That’s proper. Pot.

A “drug” this is turning into so socially appropriate it’s now absolutely prison in 18 states, together with Oregon, the place Richardson examined sure, and Canada, and decriminalized in an extra 12 states. A “drug” that is also allowed, no less than for clinical use, in Mexico and Australia, in addition to a number of international locations in Europe, South The us and Asia. A “drug” that “does now not support cardio workout or power,” in keeping with a 2017 assessment by means of the Magazine of Science and Medication in Game.

A “drug” that now not has any industry being at the International Anti-Doping Company’s checklist of banned ingredients. If it ever did.

Richardson stated at the TODAY display that she used marijuana after being shocked with the scoop that her organic mom had died.

“It for sure brought on (me),” she stated. “From there, simply blinded by means of feelings, blinded by means of badness, blinded by means of simply hurting. Hiding harm, truthfully. I do know I will’t cover myself, so no less than in some form of manner, I’ll simply attempt to cover my ache.”

Richardson celebrates after winning the women's 100m at Olympic trials.

Richardson celebrates after successful the ladies’s 100m at Olympic trials.
Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports activities

And therein lies the hypocrisy of this.

Had Richardson competed after shotgunning a six-pack or getting black-out inebriated, there wouldn’t were an issue as a result of, as of 2018, alcohol isn’t at the International Anti-Doping Company’s checklist of prohibited ingredients. But marijuana, which is utilized in a lot the similar manner, is.

This is not a U.S. Anti-Doping Company rule, thoughts you. However as signatories to the WADA code, USADA has no selection however to put into effect the principles it’s given. 

“Many now give a boost to it being off the checklist since this must be about performance-enhancing ingredients and for the reason that it’s extensively to be had in positive international locations, however many additionally agree from a well being and protection viewpoint it must stay at the checklist to ban accidents all over festival,” Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA, informed USA TODAY Sports activities.

“We don’t need a top bicycle owner rushing at 70 mph in a gaggle of alternative cyclists down a mountain within the Excursion de France and I don’t suppose any individual needs a stoned snowboarder risking accidents on a part pipe on the Olympics,” Tygart stated. “It can also uninteresting ache so in positive sports activities it will probably build up the possibility of harm.

“However no person for a 2d thinks an quantity of marijuana in a swimmer or sprinter goes to essentially reason that damage.”

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This isn’t to condone the overuse or abuse of both alcohol or marijuana. But when WADA is so interested in athletes harming themselves or others in the event that they compete whilst top, then why isn’t alcohol noticed as similarly bad? For the reason that possible ramifications are the similar.

Prohibiting athletes from the use of one however now not the opposite displays an antiquated perspective that individuals who smoke pot are all glassy-eyed losers toking up of their basements when, in truth, they’re docs, attorneys, industry execs and, sure, elite athletes. Similar to the individuals who devour alcohol.

Richardson celebrates after winning the women's 100m at Olympic trials.

Richardson celebrates after successful the ladies’s 100m at Olympic trials.
Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports activities

However the Olympic motion stays a stodgy bunch, even because it has added sports activities like skiing, freestyle snowboarding, BMX and, in Tokyo, skateboarding and browsing. It needs to co-opt the edginess and funky issue of those sports activities that attraction to more youthful folks whilst proceeding to appear down its nostril on the tradition that surrounds them and contributes to their reputation.

Ultimately, then again, even Olympic officers are going to have to recognize truth. Simply because the NFL and NBA did.

Now not most effective is the NFL now not postponing gamers who take a look at sure for marijuana, it’s investment analysis into its use for ache control. The NBA has stopped doing random checking out for marijuana.

Sooner or later, and Richardson’s case makes it even much more likely that it’s quicker somewhat than later, WADA will admit that policing folks for pot use is a waste of its time and sources, in particular when there are precise dopers to catch and punish.

Like say, oh I have no idea, international locations that experience made a idiot out of the anti-doping motion with their state-sponsored doping systems. However I digress. 

“It would not be going out on a limb to mention considered one of at the present time, it is simply going to be dropped off the checklist and WADA’s going to mention ‘Why are we bothering with this?’ ” stated Roger Pielke, a professor on the College of Colorado who research sports activities governance. “However we are not there but.”

Which means that Richardson will finally end up taking the autumn for a nonsensical rule that may ultimately stop to exist. That is no comfort to an athlete who has a small window to be on the best of her game, and a good smaller window to win its largest prize.

Apply USA TODAY Sports activities columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour. 

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