US Track and Field sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson complains about racism when it comes to Russian figure skater Kamlia Valieva. Sha’Carri was famously suspended for one month last year during trials for the 2020 (2021) Tokyo Summer Olympics. She was drug tested and the results came back positive for marijuana. Kamila Valieva failed a drug test for a banned substance called trimetazidine which is a heart medication. She was not banned from any competition and allowed to compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
These cases appear to be similar to a person without proper information but they are vastly different. The IOC even released a statement expressing how there are no similarities between these cases. It is important to understand the timing of both incidents and the way that each country operates its own anti-doping agencies.
Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension did not actually prevent her from competing in the Olympics. Well… sort of. The 30-day span knocked her out of eligibility for the first race of the Olympics that she could have competed in. The suspension ended during the Olympics giving her a window of time in which she could still compete. However, Richardson was simply not selected for the second race.
Kamila Valieva actually failed her drug test back in December of 2021. If the suspension was announced at the time when it happened, there may have been a 30-day suspension just like Sha’Carri Richardson. This would not have prevented her from competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics although it may have complicated the qualification rounds if such a thing exists in figure skating. The reason why the results of the test are just now being made public is that RUSADA (Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency) decided to not announce it until now.
RUSADA also refused to hand out an actual punishment to Kamlia Valieva, unlike what USADA did with Sha’Carri Richardson. There may be a claim of racism, favoritism, nepotism, or any other such phrase if Kamlia Valieva skated for the United States instead of Russia. But that is simply not the case. RUSADA punted the responsibility of punishment to the IOC (International Olympic Committee). The IOC then punted to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) which is based in Switzerland.
The CAS delivered a multi-page ruling that ultimately decided not to suspend Valieva for a variety of reasons. The fact that she is 15 years old and had already been skating in Beijing are two factors mentioned.
Russia appears to have simply cheated here… but in a way that skirts the rules just enough to be permissible. This is nothing new for the Russian Federation. They are actually currently banned from competing in the Olympic Games. The only reason why skaters like Kamila Valieva are allowed to compete in the Olympics is that Russia competes under the name ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) instead of simply “Russia”.
The Olympics are a very important event worldwide. Aspiring superpower nations like China and Russia want to make themselves appear to be dominant over the United States and the West in general. They will go above and beyond to make this a reality. Or, at the very least, these nations want this as a perception of reality. The Chinese app “TikTok” in itself is a way to assert dominance over other nations. Not to mention the attempts at achieving superiority through manufacturing and education. To label the issue of Kamila Valieva as “racism” is simply a small-minded and ignorant way to view the world.
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