The controversial decision to allow Russian Kamila Valieva to continue competing at the Beijing Winter Olympics despite her failed doping test has left banned American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson making an explosive racism claim.
Twenty-one-year-old athletics superstar Richardson had been favoured to win gold in the women’s 100m at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics, but she was barred from competing after testing positive for marijuana.
How the Valieva case has played out is a polar opposite, with the teen prodigy being allowed to continue competing despite testing positive for heart medication trimetazidine, which can enhance endurance.
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Valieva last week helped the Russian Olympic Committee win gold in the women’s single skating team event and on Tuesday night (AEDT) is featuring in the single skating short program.
Richardson is staggered.
“Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines (sic)?” Richardson wrote on Twitter.
“My mother died and I can’t run and was also favoured to place top three.
“The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady.”
It was US Olympic officials who blocked Richardson from competing at the Tokyo Games, whereas the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has given Valieva the ‘go-ahead’.
American Adam Rippon, a 2018 Olympic medalist who now coaches US figure skater Mariah Bell, is among the high-profile sporting figures to have lashed the Valieva decision.
“Dirty cheaters, and we are accommodating them,” Rippon said.
“I don’t know how the Olympics recovers from this.
“It’s completely unprecedented that there would be an athlete with a positive test still competing, let alone competing at an Olympic Games. It just questions the entire integrity of the Olympic movement.
“What we’re seeing now are the repercussions of no punishment, no action being truly taken.”
The CAS panel cited several reasons for allowing Valieva to skate, including her status as a minor, the potential harm to her skating career and the delay in informing Russia about the positive test, from a sample taken on December 25.
If Valieva achieves a podium finish in the single skating short program, medals won’t be awarded until the investigation of her failed drug test is complete.
Valieva is favourite to win gold, but any medal won at the Beijing Olympics will be stripped from her if the investigation confirms she doped.
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