Runner Sha’Carri Richardson is speaking out after Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was allowed to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics despite reportedly testing positive for Trimetazidine, a drug used to treat chest pain. The World Anti-Doping Agency lists trimetazidine as a prohibited metabolic modulator that could potentially function as a stimulant.
“Can we get a solid answer on the difference [between] her situation and mine?” 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.”
Last year, Richardson was dropped from Team U.S.A. for the relay and the 100-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics after she tested positive for marijuana, which is not considered a performance-enhancing drug, but is nevertheless banned. In her case, U.S. Track and Field gave away her spot on the team before it got to the International Olympic Committee.
As for Valieva, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said barring the figure skater — who, at 15, is not legally able to consent to drug use — from the Olympics “would cause her irreparable harm.” On Monday, the IOC announced that she would be able to compete, but would not be awarded medals were she to land in the top three of her competitions. The IOC will also skip medal ceremonies for the events she may win or place in until her case “has been concluded,” per The New York Times.
Team USA expressed their shock following the decision, with United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee chief executive Sarah Hirshland writing, “We are disappointed by the messages this sends. This appears to be another chapter in the systemic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia.” (In fact, Russia has been found in violation of these policies so many times that the country is banned from officially competing in the Games, instead competing as the Russian Olympic Committee.)
Richardson, meanwhile, called out the sports organization for the delay in making the decision public since Valieva failed the doping test in December, yet her test results last year were made public within a week. “My name and talent [were] slaughtered to the people,” she wrote, later adding, “Not one BLACK athlete has been about to compete with a case going on, I don’t care what they say!!!”
About the delay in receiving the Dec. 25 drug test result, the panel noted that there were “serious issues of untimely notification of the results.” (Valieva did not test positive for doping in Beijing.)
At the time of the positive marijuana result, Richardson was forced to sit out of the Olympics. Richardson made headlines at the time after qualifying for the Olympics a week after her mother died.
“People don’t understand what it’s like to have to … go in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain,” Richardson told Today last summer. “I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do… and I still made that decision… Don’t judge me because I am human. I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster.”