Sha'Carri Richardson Slams Decision to Allow Kamila Valieva to Compete Despite Doping Controversy

"It's all in the skin," the American athlete, who was unable to compete in the Tokyo Olympics over a positive marijuana test, wrote on Twitter

Sha'Carri Richardson, Kamila Valieva
Sha'Carri Richardson (left) and Kamila Valieva. Photo: Taylor Hill/WireImage; LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty

American track and field athlete Sha'Carri Richardson is reacting to the decision to allow Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva to continue to compete at the Olympics, despite a positive drug test, and contrasting it to her own experience.

On Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced that the 15-year-old athlete can compete in the short program of the women's skating competition on Tuesday. Valieva's participation in the event came into question after it was revealed she reportedly tested positive for the banned substance Trimetazidine, a heart medication, in December.

The CAS cited Valieva's status as a "protected person" (a minor) in making the decision in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code. "The panel considered that preventing the athlete to compete at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in the circumstances," CAS Director General Matthieu Reeb said in a statement, per the Associated Press.

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Richardson, 21, won the women's 100m race at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials last summer. However, she lost her spot on Team USA after she tested positive for THC, a chemical in marijuana, following the trials. Because of the decision, she was unable to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. A different organization than CAS, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), handled Richardson's testing and suspension.

Tweeting in response to a news article about Valieva, Richardson, 21, wrote, "Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines [sic]? 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."

"It's all in the skin," she wrote in a separate tweet, then added, "Btw THC definitely is not a performance enhance!!!!!"

She continued, tweeting, "Failed in December and the world just now know however my result was posted within a week and my name & talent was slaughtered to the people."

Wrote Richardson in a further tweet, "Not one BLACK athlete has been about to compete with a case going on, I don't care what they say."

Responding to the Valieva news on Monday, Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, said in a statement that the organization was "disappointed by the message this decision sends."

"It is the collective responsibility of the entire Olympic community to protect the integrity of sports and to hold our athletes, coaches and all involved to the highest of standards," said Hirshland.

In her Olympic debut earlier this month, Valieva became the first woman to land a quadruple jump at a Games during the women's free skate portion of the team event.

The issue with Valieva comes as Russia is still under an anti-doping penalty partially upheld by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020. Being only permitted to compete under the ROC name is the result of a years-long tangle of punishments, appeals and court rulings in the wake of reports that Russia was engaged in sometimes elaborate state-sponsored doping at the 2012 and 2014 Olympics.

The Kremlin has strenuously denied these accounts, which have been documented by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Winter Olympics, now, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

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