The International Olympic Committee recently dismissed claims from U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson that a double standard is the reason Richardson missed last year’s summer Games in Tokyo after receiving a 30-day ban for smoking cannabis, a drug few believe is performance enhancing, while Russian skater Kamila Valieva who also tested positive for a banned drug, has been allowed to compete in this year’s Winter Olympics.
Richardson took to Twitter seeking an explanation.
To add insult to injury, the IOC’s ruling said that banning Valieva “would cause her irreparable harm” in her athletic career moving forward. However, no such empathetic/sympathetic concern was shown to Richardson, who said she used marijuana, the banned substance for which she was denied the opportunity to compete in last summer’s Olympic games, to deal with the pain of losing her mother.
Many questioned why Valieva was even allowed to make the trip to the Winter Olympics, as it was revealed in December 2021 that Valieva, the Russian national champion and Olympic gold medal favorite, tested positive for a banned substance at a Russian competition.
In stark contrast, after winning the Olympic Trials in July 2021, Richardson tested positive for cannabis, which led to her win being stripped and her suspension. Immediately, she was no longer eligible to compete at the Olympics. More often than not, when an athlete tests positive for a banned substance, an immediate suspension follows. Immediately.
However, following the Russian Olympic Committee’s win in the figure skating team event, news broke that Valieva previously tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine, a heart medication generally prescribed to those much older than the 15-year-old skater.
And regardless what the IOC states, the facts are undeniable that Richardson’s punishment was swift and severe, while Valieva’s has been none of that.
Richardson also took notice of an additional difference in treatment when compared to the Russian skater, and tweeted about it, stating, “Failed 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.”
Yahoo Sports is reporting that IOC member Denis Oswald said that Valieva’s lawyers argued to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that Valieva’s exposure to the banned substance was because of an accident with her grandfather’s medicine.
“Her argument was contamination happened with a product her grandfather was taking,” Oswald said.