SIU Professor: Richardson Suspension Shines Light on Elite Athletics' Pressures
An SIU Professor says the suspension of Sha'Carri Richardson over a positive marijuana test highlights the complex nature of elite sports competitions - and it's something he thinks should be carefully reviewed.
Phil Anton is the director of SIU's Exercise Science program. He says Richardson's suspension effectively eliminates a highly anticipated race at the Tokyo Olympics - where she would face off against Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price.
"That was going to be one of the absolutely huge highlights - because the sprints are always a big deal at the Olympics - but that was going to be a monstrous event, and now, unless it's overturned, it's not going to happen."
Anton says the incident shines a spotlight on performance-enhancing drugs, and says there is a school of thought that athletes are being pushed too far - mentally and physically.
He says the pressure to be the best, with the cleanest record, is a heavy burden for athletes.
"I would definitely, definitely be on the side of we are pushing the athletes too far from the perspective of keeping them completely, 100% clean of any sort of substance."
Still, Anton says Richardson and other athletes at that level know the risk they take when they choose to use any substance - and that those risks have consequences.