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Sha’Carri Richardson calls out racism after skater cleared to compete despite positive drug test

Sha'Carri Richardson preparing for the 100m race at the Olympics Trials on June 19, 2021.
Sha'Carri Richardson preparing for the 100m race at the Olympics Trials on June 19, 2021.Photo: Screenshot/Team USA

Out sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson is calling out the International Olympic Committee after she was banned from competing for using marijuana legally while Russian ice skater Kamila Valieva is allowed to compete despite testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

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

Related: Out track star Sha’Carri Richardson lights up the internet with Olympic trial performance

Richardson qualified to compete at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo in the 100-meter dash, finishing first in the U.S. Olympic Trials.

She later tested positive for THC, showing that she had used cannabis, which she said she smoked to cope with the death of her mother. She also said that she smoked marijuana in Oregon, where it’s legal.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspended her for one month, and the 100-meter dash at the Olympics happened during that month. USADA said that they had to enforce the World Anti-Doping Code.

Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication that some athletes use to increase blood flow. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that keeping Valieva out of the Olympics would “cause her irreparable harm” and cleared her to compete this past Sunday.

Several organizations have spoken out about the decision to let her compete, including the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, who said it was “another chapter in the systemic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia.

Richardson, though, pointed to racism as a key difference.

“Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines?” she asked on Twitter.

She’s not alone. Human rights attorney Quasim Rashid said he “can’t qwhite put my finger on the difference” between Richardson’s and Valieva’s situations.

There is, of course, another major difference in their situations: Valieva is under the age of 16, which the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) considers her a “protested person” deserving of more protection.

Rashid pointed out that that extra protection, though, amounts to turning a blind eye to making children take performance-enhancing drugs.

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