Sha’Carri Richardson calls out double standard in Olympic doping case: ‘Only difference is I’m a Black young lady’

The track and field star has an issue with a Russian skater accused of doping being allowed to compete in the Winter Games

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U.S. track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson called out the International Olympic Committee on social media after Russian ice skater Kamila Valieva was cleared to compete in Beijing despite failing a drug test. 

Valieva — a gold-medal favorite — reportedly tested positive for the banned heart drug trimetazidine, which is used to treat people with angina. As reported by Yahoo Sports, the drug is said to increase stamina in athletes. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled Monday that keeping the 15-year-old out of the Olympic Games in Beijing would “cause her irreparable harm.”

Sha’Carri Richardson reacts after finishing last in the 100m race during the Wanda Diamond League Prefontaine Classic Saturday in Eugene, Oregon in 2021. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The International Olympic Committee booted Richardson from the Tokyo Olympic Games last summer after she tested positive for THC in July, theGrio reported. The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the decision to disqualify the athlete, who was “favored to place top 3,” Richardson wrote on Twitter. 

In a Feb. 14 post, Richardson, 21, questioned the decision by the Court of Arbitration to allow Valieva to continue competing at the Winter Olympics despite a failed drug test. 

“Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines? My mother died and I can’t run and was also favored to place top 3. The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady,” she wrote on Twitter, and many users agreed with her.

One Twitter user responded to the decision to allow the Russian teenager to compete, “But 10 Nigerian athletes were denied competition in the 2021 Summer Olympics, strictly because they did not have enough doping tests done during the very difficult Covid pandemic. No evidence of positive tests, just a failure to provide them with the opportunity to test. Smh….”

Another added, “She shouldn’t have been allowed to compete at all. Just like none of the Russian athletes should have been allowed because of the previous doping ban!”

A third Twitter user commented, “Why test anyone if you’re just gonna let them off? Or could it be that Vladimir Putin told you what to do…??”

And yet another noted, “This affirms my decision not to watch any of the events this year. I’m so sick of the cheating and deep corruption of the IOC! The policy should be consistent across the board and the IOC needs to stop discriminating against Black athletes. Their bias is blatantly obvious!”

However, as Valieva is 15, there are different rules in place when the athlete is underaged, according to multiple reports. And, Valieva’s positive test did not come as she was competing in the Beijing Olympics. In her case, a full investigation is expected to take place after the competition.

But because of the positive test, a decision has been made not to award any medals if Valieva places in the top three finalists in the women’s figure skating competition. Nor will an awards ceremony be held should she win or place.

The Russian Olympic team competes as the Russian Olympic Committee and under the flag of the Olympics, not their country’s flag, due to a two-year ban from competition in 2019 because of state-sponsored doping.

The team gold that Valieva helped Russia win has not yet been awarded and the teams, including the U.S., who won silver medals, now have to wait for their medals as well due to the controversy.

“How is anyone going to take the women’s event seriously now?” said Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel, who won team gold in 2018, The Guardian reports. “We were just told illegal drugs and abuse are OK. If that is what this sport is about now, I want nothing to do with it. February 14 2022. The day the Olympic spirit died.”

Around The Games - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 10
Kamila Valieva of Team ROC during a training session on day ten of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 14, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Last year, Richardson was suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for one month after she tested positive for a chemical found in marijuana, later completing a counseling program.

Richardson told NBC’s Today that she smoked marijuana to deal with the recent loss of her biological mother. Richardson’s mother passed away shortly before she qualified in the Olympics trials, theGrio previously reported. She won the 100 in 10.86 seconds on June 19, 2021.

“I want to take responsibility for my actions,” she said following her suspension. “I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do. What I’m allowed not to do, and I still made that decision.”

Per the New York Times, Valieva practiced hitting her usual array of quadruple jumps, some of the most difficult in skating, with ease. She wasn’t made available for an interview but told Russian media, “These days have been very difficult for me, and I’ve run out of emotions. I’m happy, but emotionally I’m tired.”

This article contains additional reporting from Ashley Terrell and Matthew Allen.

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