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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled Monday that 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has been cleared to compete in the 2022 Beijing Olympics, despite testing positive for a banned substance in December. That didn’t sit too well with Sha’Carri Richardson.
Russia has constantly been at the center of doping investigations during the Olympics and was even banned from the Olympics in December 2020 by the same court that cleared Valieva. Russian athletes have been allowed to compete under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) banner in the last two Olympics, which is essentially the Russian national team.
Waking up to the news of the ruling from the CAS, 2021 U.S. Olympic qualifier Sha’Carri Richardson took to Twitter to comment on the double standard in the Olympic ruling.
Sha’Carri Richardson commented on the video of Director General of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Matthieu Reeb, announcing that Valieva would be allowed to continue her participation in the Beijing Olympic games. The ruling came even though the committee found that Valieva tested positive for a banned substance during the Olympic qualifier Russian Figure Skating Championship in December.
“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,” Richardson said.
Richardson tested positive for marijuana during the Olympic trials in 2021 when she won the 100-meter race in a time of 10.86 seconds. Just days before the race, Richardson had learned of the passing of her biological mother from “a complete stranger” during an interview.
“I want to take responsibility for my actions. 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. I’m not looking for an excuse or any empathy in my case. However, being in that position in my life, finding out something like that, something that I would say is probably one of the biggest things that have impacted me positively and negatively in my life when it comes to dealing with the relationship with my mother.”
Richardson was given a 30-day suspension for her positive test, all but crushing her dreams of competing for a medal in the 100-meter race. Her suspension would’ve ended in time for her to compete in the women’s relay, but U.S. Track and Field officials chose to keep her off the roster.
Richardson had to remind fans that “THC definitely is not a performance enhancing” drug on Monday.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport extended a level of grace for Valieva that was not extended to Richardson. Part of CAS’ explanation in allowing Valieva to compete is the fact that she is a minor which creates “exceptional circumstances,” under the World Anti-Doping Code.
Valieva helped the ROC win gold in the figure skating team event the day before revelations of her positive test became public.
The International Olympic Committee announced Monday after the CAS’ ruling that there would be no medal ceremony for the team event or women’s single skating competition should Valieva place in the top three until it’s established whether the skater violated anti-doping regulations.
The CAS said “that preventing the athlete from competing at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in these circumstances.”
There will surely be a long proceeding of hearings and rulings to determine if Valieva’s involvement in the Olympics is legitimate, and if the medal she helped win should be vacated, but at the very least it is apparent the treatment between Richardson and Valieve is a night and day difference.
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