Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson is being compared to another American athlete, Michael Phelps, after testing positive for cannabis.
The athlete ran the 100 meters in 10.86 seconds last week—making her one to watch in Japan.
However, Reuters reported on Thursday that the 21-year-old had tested positive for an unspecified prohibited substance.
It is unclear whether she will appeal the test result.
Richardson appeared to respond to the situation in a cryptic tweet posted on Thursday, writing: “I am human.”
She is set to appear on NBC‘s Today Show on Friday.
The reports prompted many commenters to compare Richardson to swimmer Michael Phelps—the most decorated Olympian of all time with 23 gold medals—who was disciplined in 2009 after he was photographed inhaling from a marijuana pipe.
The incident led to Phelps losing sponsorship deals and USA Swimming suspended him from competition for three months and withdrew its financial support. Phelps never tested positive for marijuana.
However, the swimmer’s suspension was in February 2009, six months after the 2008 Olympics and six months before the 2009 World Championships.
The Tokyo Olympics begin in three weeks, on July 23. If Richardson is banned, she will miss the Games.
“Marijuana? This is ridiculous if true. Sha’Carri Richardson deserves better. Do you have any idea all the shyt media and police looked the other way to allow Michael Phelps to keep swimming?” tweeted sports journalist Chuck Modi.
Another person posted: “The Olympics really trying to block Sha’Carri Richardson for weed. Which means Michael Phelps is about to get dragged.”
One Twitter user wrote: “Let Sha’Carri compete! Give her the same pass Michael Phelps received. #StandWithShaCarri.”
Another fan joked: “Me on the way to Sha’Carri Richardson house with a bottle of clean urine so she can pass her drug test and not miss winning gold in the Olympics just for weed.”
Responding to criticism of the sprinter, podcaster Touré tweeted: “To the people saying it’s Sha’Carri Richardson’s fault, ok, no one forced her to smoke, but no it’s not her fault that she lives in a world where marijuana is criminalized when it never should have been. It was criminalized for political reasons and racial reasons not safety.”
According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, Athletes can be suspended for up to two years for testing positive for marijuana.