Track and field athlete Tara Davis-Woodhall proudly took home the 2023 USATF Indoor Championship title in February. The title has since been revoked after a drug test revealed she tested positive for cannabis.
After posting a jump of 6.99 meters at the indoor competition in New Mexico, she earned the championship title on February 17th. But, earlier this week, the US Anti-Doping Agency announced in a statement that the runner “has accepted a one-month period of ineligibility for an anti-doping rule violation.”
“Cannabis, marijuana, and hashish are Specified Substances in the class of Cannabinoids and are prohibited in competition under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List,” the statement continued.
Although suspensions for cannabis use are usually three months, Davis-Woodhall was able to reduce the punishment to one month “because her use of cannabis occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sports performance, and because she successfully completed a substance of abuse treatment program regarding her use of cannabis.”
Davis-Woodhall, 23, is yet to release a statement addressing the circumstances. However, her one-month suspension is already completed, as she began serving it on March 21st.
Since Davis-Woodhall was stripped of the national title, the Anti-Doping Agency has asked for rules regarding the drug to be reconsidered due to the widespread legality across the United States. “WADA seeks input on each year’s updated version of the Prohibited List,” they wrote in a statement. “USADA has advocated and will continue to advocate to WADA, the rule maker, to treat marijuana in a fairer and more effective way to identify true in-competition use.”
Comparing and contrasting Tara Davis-Woodhall and Sha’carri Richardson’s doping scandal
The Davis-Woodhall scandal was also strikingly similar to Sha’Carri Richardson’s marijuana controversy. Despite being labeled the fastest woman on the planet, Richardson was prohibited from representing the US in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for marijuana.
With an incredible sprint time of 10.86 seconds, many were appalled to see the runner face consequences from the USADA, especially when considering her mother had just passed away.
“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels; hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her,” Travis Tygart, chief executive of USADA said at the time of Richardson’s ban.
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