Well, it happened again: A star track and field athlete has had a major career milestone ripped away in the wake of a positive test for THC. This time, the woman who has been impacted is long jumper and hurdler Tara Davis-Woodhall, whose national indoor title for the long jump was taken away when she tested positive for cannabis use at the USA Track and Field indoor championships in Albuquerque on February 17.
In addition to the revocation of her title, Davis-Woodhall received a one-month suspension from competition—which she had actually already served by the time the supposed regulation violation was announced on Wednesday in a USADA statement.
Davis-Woodhall seems to be taking it all in stride. On Wednesday, husband Hunter Woodhall posted what seems to be a comment from Davis-Woodhall in his Instagram stories in which she wrote, "Thanks for the support! Competing this Saturday @ LSU👀"
The Louisiana State University Track and Field Invitational is taking place this Saturday.
The typical punishment of a three-month violation for testing positive for a prohibited substance can be reduced, as it was in the case of Davis-Woodhall, if the athlete proves that the drug was not taken during competition, and that it wasn’t a factor in their competition day performance.
That USADA statement added that Davis-Woodhall also went through a substance abuse treatment program … for cannabis.
The track and field world reeled in 2021 when star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was effectively cut from the Olympics team, despite a dominating performance in the 100 meter Olympic trials, when she tested positive for THC.
In the aftermath of that disastrous action, a near half-million people signed a petition demanding that Richardson be allowed to compete, and the World Anti-Doping Agency and USADA went to war over which agency was actually responsible for the cannabis ban. WADA went so far as to announce it would review its policy on marijuana, but ultimately decided to keep the rules largely as-is.
Even Richardson had to call foul in 2022 when Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was still allowed to compete in the Beijing Olympics after testing positive for a drug ostensibly meant to treat chest pain, but also capable of tamping down exhaustion.
It seems like this time around, even the regulatory body that handed down the punishment was embarrassed to be doing so—and not just because they chose to announce this most recent sanction after the athlete in question had already served her suspension.
“WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] seeks input on each year’s updated version of the Prohibited List,” USADA’s press release states. “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.”
Aside from her elite-level athleticism, Davis-Woodson is known for her squeaky-clean personal life. After graduating from the University of Texas last year, she married her longtime boyfriend, sprinter Hunter Woodson, who was the first double amputee athlete to be given a Division I scholarship. The two manage a Youtube page with 600,000 followers that documents their lives as athletes in love, from surprise visits during college to the trials and tribulations of planning their wedding.
According to said Youtube page, it appears that Davis-Woodson stayed busy during her suspension. In a 15-minute video posted on March 27, the couple outlined their plans to build their own training facility for themselves and other athletes.
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