Sha'Carri Richardson Questions Decision to Allow Figure Skater Kamila Valieva to Compete in Olympics

Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir also spoke out after learning figure skater Kamila Valieva would compete after it was reported that she tested positive for a banned substance prior to the Olympics.

By Mike Vulpo Feb 14, 2022 8:02 PMTags
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Figure skating is taking center stage at the Olympics for both good and bad reasons.

While there are plenty of performances worthy of praise and celebration—we see you Nathan Chen and Erin Jackson—a scandal involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has left fans with mixed emotions.

On Feb. 14, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced the 15-year-old will be allowed to compete in the 2022 Beijing Games after it was reported that she tested positive for a banned substance prior to the Games. For track and field star Sha'Carri Richardson—she was unable to compete at the 2020 Olympics after testing positive for marijuana—the decision has left her with more questions than answers.

"Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines?" she wrote on Twitter. "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."

Back in July, the track star was suspended from the U.S. Olympic team for one month after she tested positive for marijuana. She was unable to race in the women's 100-meter dash.

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Sha'Carri previously said she used marijuana after learning that her biological mom had passed away. Hearing about the death from a reporter one week before the Olympic trials sent her into what she described as a state of "emotional panic."

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According to NBC Sports, Kamila tested positive for a banned substance prior to this year's Beijing Games. The sample was reportedly obtained prior to her win at the European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.

The drug detected is a heart medication called trimetazidine, NBC News reported. The substance was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency due to properties that can improve endurance.

In her recent tweets, Sha'Carri argued her case was different from Kamila's situation. "BTW THC definitely is not a performance enhance!!!!" she wrote on Feb. 14. "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." 

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Other Olympians are speaking out against CAS' decision. Figure skater Tara Lipinski, who made history at the 1998 Olympics after winning gold at just 15, argued that the ruling will have a negative effect on her sport going forward. 

"I strongly disagree with this decision," she wrote on Twitter. " At the end of the day, there was a positive test and there is no question in my mind that she should not be allowed to compete. Regardless of age or timing of the test/results. I believe this will leave a permanent scar on our sport."


Tara added, "One more thought. I've said this before, she's just 15. Please keep that in mind. This is a lot for a young person to deal with. I hope that whichever adults faulted her are held ACCOUNTABLE. This is heartbreaking."

As for Johnny Weir, who offers commentary about figure skating alongside Tara, he also can't condone the decision.

"There was a positive drug test, therefore the athlete who tested positive, at fault or not, regardless of age or timing of test/result, should not be allowed to compete against clean athletes," he said. "I know that the news has overshadowed the tremendous performances of the ice dancers, but congratulations to our illustrious skaters who lived their dreams in front of the world. You were magnificent."

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