Sha'Carri Richardson Notes 'Only Difference' She Sees Between Her And Kamila Valieva

Both athletes failed a drug test before the Olympics, but only one was allowed to compete.

American track star Sha’Carri Richardson has questioned the International Olympic Committee’s decision on Monday to allow Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva to compete despite her failed doping test.

Richardson, 21, was favored to win a medal in the women’s 100 meters at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and had won the event at the U.S. Olympic trials. But she lost her spot on the U.S. team after she tested positive for marijuana, which is prohibited but not considered a performance-enhancing drug.

Meanwhile, Valieva, 15, a favorite for the women’s individual gold in figure skating, was cleared this week to compete in the Beijing Winter Games, despite testing positive for trimetazidine, a banned medication used to treat chest pain that could increase endurance. Olympics officials determined Valieva would not need to be provisionally suspended ahead of a full investigation.

Richardson asked Monday why Valieva got the green light to compete despite uncertainty about her eligibility. U.S. officials gave Richardson a 30-day suspension that prevented her from competing.

“The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady,” she wrote.

Richardson said last year that she had used marijuana before the Olympic trials after learning about the death of her biological mother.

The IOC said Monday that if Valieva finishes in the top three, there will be no medal ceremony during the Olympics. There will also be no ceremony for the team event she and the Russian team won a week ago. The medal winners will be determined pending the results of the investigation.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, which handed down the decision, said that Valieva’s age was one of the factors in its ruling and that banning her “would cause her irreparable harm.”

Richardson was not the only athlete to criticize the decision.

“You have athletes that are competing under two different systems, and we saw that today. THAT is not fair, raise the age minimum so we can all play on the same terms. This is not the call,” tweeted former figure skater Ashley Wagner, who won a bronze medal with the U.S. team in 2014.

Meagan Duhamel, who won team gold for Canada in 2018, asked, “How is anyone going to take the women’s event seriously now? We were just told illegal drugs and abuse are okay. If that is what this sport is about now, I want nothing to do with it.”