Tokyo Olympics: Which Athletes Won’t Be Competing?

Tokyo Olympics: Which Athletes Won’t Be Competing?

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While the Tokyo Olympics are only weeks away, more discussion has already turned to the athletes who won’t be able to compete than those who will. Between positive drug tests and shifting priorities, several prominent names will be missing from the marquee sporting event of the year.

So, who will be missing out on the event?

Sha’Carri Richardson

Track runner Sha’Carri Richardson made headlines recently when a positive drug test for marijuana prevented her from joining the US track and field team. Richardson was expected to be on the US relay team for the Tokyo Olympics, but her positive drug test seems to have sent her home.

Fans of the charismatic runner have called the situation “unfair,” noting that she was in a state where marijuana was legal when the test was administered. Moreover, her fans insist that the drug shouldn’t be disqualifying, as it’s not performance-enhancing. The US team’s decision to leave her at home, however, is final, so Richardson won’t compete in this year’s games.

Shelby Houlihan

Another Olympic hopeful, Shelby Houlihan, will be staying home during the Olympics because of a positive drug test. Houlihan, like Richardson, is also a track and field athlete, though she is a middle-distance runner instead of a sprinter. In Houlihan’s case, she’s been suspended from competing in an Olympic competition for four years due to anabolic steroids found in her system.

Houlihan has denied that she took any steroids, insisting that the test was a false positive. She insists that the steroid was in her system due to a pork burrito she’d had the night before the test. The response to her claims on social media has ranged from incredulity to outright scorn, though Houlihan maintains that she did not take any performance-enhancing drugs.

Rafael Nadal

Tennis pro Rafael Nadal, known to his fans as Rafa, will be sitting out the Tokyo Olympics, too. He skipped the Wimbledon tournament in the UK after his showing at Rolland Garros last month. Nadal cited his difficulty in transitioning from clay court to grass-court play and noted that he wanted to preserve his body for future competitions.

Nadal is a major name in the world of tennis and is currently tied with Roger Federer for most Grand Slam titles in the history of the sport.

Another tennis pro who skipped Wimbledon, Naomi Osaka, will be competing in the Olympics, though. Osaka skipped out on Roland Garros after revealing that she struggles with depression and couldn’t stand the pressure of being interviewed immediately after high-stakes matches. The Japanese pro is reportedly enthusiastic about playing in front of a hometown crowd during the Olympics.