The International Olympic Committee is pushing back after sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson suggested the only reason she couldn't compete after a positive drug test but Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva can is because "I'm a Black young lady."
Richardson earlier this week asked for a "solid answer" about the difference between her case and that of Valieva, who was cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to compete at the Beijing Olympics despite a positive drug test. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Richardson was not able to compete after testing positive for marijuana and being suspended for one month. Richardson has said she smoked marijuana to deal with her mother's death.
"Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines?" Richardson tweeted. "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."
The Court of Arbitration for Sport in its decision on Valieva cited "serious issues of untimely notification" of her drug test, which was taken on Dec. 25, but the results were not received until Feb. 8. Now, Mark Adams, a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee, argues the two cases are not similar, pointing to the timing of the tests.
"You can't talk about double standards in relation to Russian and American athletes, each case is individual," Adams told The Guardian. "Richardson's positive doping test was discovered on June 19, and the result was received before the start of the Olympics. She was suspended for a month. There is nothing in common between these two cases."
The IOC previously announced there would be no medal ceremony during the Olympics for the women's single skating competition should Valieva finish in the top three. But Richardson on Twitter wrote, "Not one BLACK athlete has been about to compete with a case going on, I don't care what they say."