Sha’Carri Richardson calls out Olympics double standard amid Russian doping scandal

Lily Wakefield February 14, 2022
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Sha’Carri Richardson

Sha'Carri Richardson. (Getty/ Jonathan Ferrey)

US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson has called out the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for allowing Kamila Valieva to compete at the Olympics amid a doping scandal.

The 15-year-old Russian figure skater won a gold medal in the team event, but it was later revealed by the World Anti-Doping Agency found that she had tested positive for the banned drug trimetazidine at the Russian Figure Skating Championships at the end of December.

Despite a positive doping test within the last two months, the CAS announced on Monday (14 February) that it would allow Valieva to continue competing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, claiming that banning her would cause her “irreparable harm”.

But Richardson, 21, a queer sprinter who was disqualified from the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after testing positive for marijuana during the US Olympic trials, took to social media to call out an apparent double standard.

She tweeted: “Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mine?”

Richardson’s mother had died shortly before the trials, and she said that she had used marijuana to cope. She took the drug in Oregon, where it is legal.

She continued: “My mother died and I can’t run and was also favoured to place top three. The only difference I see is I’m a Black young lady.”



Many on social media echoed Richardson’s point, with human rights lawyer Qasim Rashid tweeting: “Sha’Carri Richardson: Tests positive for pot (which is not performance enhancing), banned from Olympics.

“Kamila Valieva: Tests positive for Trimetazidine (which increases blood flow to heart), approved for Olympics

“I can’t quite put my finger on the difference here…”

Responding to Valieva continuing to compete at the Winter Olympics, US Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a statement: “We are disappointed by the message this decision sends.

“It is the collective responsibility of the entire Olympic community to protect the integrity of sport and to hold our athletes, coaches and all involved to the highest of standards.

“Athletes have the right to know they are competing on a level playing field. Unfortunately, today that right is being denied.

“This appears to be another chapter in the systemic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia.

“We know this case is not yet closed, and we call on everyone in the Olympic Movement to continue to fight for clean sport on behalf of athletes around the world.”

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