‘It’s Not the Same’: IOC Hits Back After Sha’Carri Richardson Accuses Organization of Favoring Russian Athlete  

Eyebrows were raised earlier this month when the International Olympic Committee allowed Russian Olympic Committee figure skater Kamila Valieva to compete at the 2022 winter games in Beijing despite failing a pre-Olympics drug test. The controversial decision prompted track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson, who was omitted from the USA team last year after testing positive for marijuana, to call out what appeared to be a double standard at this year’s games. 

“Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines?” the Texas native wrote in a series of posts on Twitter on Monday, Feb. 14. “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.” In accepting her punishment last summer, Richardson conceded that she had smoked marijuana to deal with the trauma of losing her mother.

However, the committee appeared to see things differently, telling Yahoo Sports, “You can’t talk about double standards in relation to Russian and American athletes, each case is individual.”

IOC spokesman Mark Adams told the publication that the differences between the two cases boiled down to timing. “Richardson’s positive doping test was discovered on 19 June, and the result was received before the start of the Olympics,” Adams said. “She was suspended for a month. There is nothing in common between these two cases. This Games, which has not concluded, concerns an issue in December.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sport also noted that because of her age some of the rules that apply to Richardson, who is 21 years old don’t apply to Valieva, who is 15, because she is a “protected person.”

As previously reported, Valieva was cleared to continue competing despite testing positive for a banned medication called trimetazidine. At the time, the only repercussion the teen phenom would have been facing was not being a part of the medal ceremony should she place — a move the IOC claimed was “in the interest of fairness to all athletes.”  However, Valieva failed to place during the women’s free skate after tumbling numerous times during her routine. 

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