Track Star Who Was Suspended Questions Skater's Case

Sha'Carri Richardson had to sit out Summer Olympics after flunking a drug test
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2022 4:43 PM CST
Richardson Asks Why Skater's Case Is Different
Sha'Carri Richardson celebrates after winning a heat last June at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.   (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

(Newser) – When Sha'Carri Richardson failed a drug test, the American sprinter was kept from competing in last year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo. When Kamila Valieva flunked a drug test, the Russian skater was allowed to continue competing in the ongoing Winter Olympics in Beijing. That leaves Richardson with a question for Olympic authorities, USA Today reports. "Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines?" she tweeted Monday. "The only difference I see is I'm a black young lady."

Richardson posted her question in response to an opinion piece by Christine Brennan in USA Today. Writing about the decision on Valieva, Brennan called it "a dark day" for the Olympics, as well as for "the thousands of athletes who play by the rules and do not cheat by taking performance-enhancing drugs." Valieva had tested positive for a banned heart medication, trimetazidine; Richardson was suspended for 30 days after testing positive last summer for marijuana, which she said she'd taken to cope with her mother's death.

In its announcement Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport gave Valieva's age as a reason for its decision. She's 15, making her a "protected person," subject to different rules than adult athletes are. The World Anti-Doping Agency had backed that provision because of young athletes' "lack of legal capacity," per Yahoo Sports. Nevertheless, the agency, which doesn't categorize marijuana as a performance-enhancing drug, criticized the decision in Valieva's case in a statement. "It's all in the skin," Richardson posted in a follow-up tweet. (Read more 2022 Beijing Olympics stories.)

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