Sha’Carri Richardson, the American track and field star who was banned from the Tokyo Olympics last year for marijuana use, has an issue with Russian Olympic Committee figure skater Kamila Valieva‘s participation in the Beijing Olympics. 15-year-old Kamila tested positive for a banned substance in the midst of the 2022 Winter Olympics, but on Feb. 14, she was granted approval to continue competing by the Court of Arbitration for Sports. The CAS said Kimila’s age is the main reason they decided to lift the ban on the teenager, according to Sport’s Illustrated.
Sha’Carri, 21, spoke out about Kamila’s situation via Twitter on Feb. 14. “Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines?” she 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 athlete added.
Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines? 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. https://t.co/JtUfmp3F8L
— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) February 14, 2022
For more backstory, Sha’Carri biological mother died a few days prior to the June 2021 race at the Olympic Trials in Oregon (where pot is legal). She previously said that learning of her mother’s passing from a journalist sent her into “a state of emotional panic.” Sha’Carri got first place during the women’s 100-meter run, but after testing positive for pot, she was given a one-month suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. That meant Sha’Carri couldn’t compete in Tokyo because of the marijuana use, which she apologized for.
Kamila, meanwhile, was already competing in Beijing before her positive drug test. The Russian athlete had even won a gold medal in team figure skating on Feb. 7. The following day, Kamila’s drug test that she provided on December 25 turned out to be positive for the prohibited substance Trimetazidine, which is commonly used to treat heart patients, according to NBC News.
Sha’Carri also called out the Olympics regarding Kamila’s situation on her Instagram Stories. “It’s all in the skin,” she wrote alongside a news story about Kamila being cleared to compete post-drug test. On the next slide, Sha’Carri wrote, “Losing my mother wasn’t enough for me to run, I wonder why they let her.” U.S. skater Adam Rippon also spoke out on Twitter. “If they are truly worried about the irreparable harm, set her up with proper counseling to deal with the incredibly sad situation she finds herself in and SEND HER HOME. The irreparable harm that will be done is to the entire Olympic Games. She shouldn’t be allowed to compete,” he said.
Kamila is now favored to win gold in the Women’s Singles ice skating on Tuesday, Feb 15. Her U.S. competitors include Mariah Bell, Karen Chen, and Alysa Liu.