Russian figure skating phenom Kamila Valieva tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) allowed her to continue competing. A prominent US track star called out the racist double standard on social media.
Sha’Carri Richardson, 21, tested positive for marijuana use and was disqualified from competing in the Tokyo Olympics last summer. Valieva, 15, on the other hand, popped hot for the endurance enhancing heart drug trimetazidine six weeks prior to the Beijing Games, and was cleared to keep competing by the IOC.
To Richardson, the double standard is pretty clear: “It’s all in the skin,” she tweeted on Monday.
“Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines?” Richardson continued in a timely Twitter tirade. “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 she took marijuana a few days before the US Olympic Trials, after a reporter inadvertently broke the news of her mother’s death.
“To hear that information come from a complete stranger, it was definitely triggering. It was definitely nerve-shocking.” she explained at the time. “No offense to him at all, he was just doing his job, but it put me in a state of mind of emotional panic.”
Despite being located in Oregon, where cannabis use is legal, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) thwarted the sprinter’s Olympic dreams by banning her from the sport for a month, which knocked her out of the individual 100m race in Tokyo.
Richardson pointed out that Valieva failed her drug test back in December “and the world just now know however my result was posted within a week and my name & talent was slaughtered to the people,” she tweeted.
Valieva was interimly banned after her test results were made public, but won her appeal and was allowed to continue competing. With her help, Russia secured gold in the team event, and she is heavily favored to win the upcoming Women’s Single Skating event.