DALLAS — North Texas track and field star Sha'Carri Richardson took to Twitter on Monday to state her opinion on the sudden reinstatement of a Russian figure skater at the Olympics even though the skater is accused of doping. Richardson suggests the difference is the color of her skin.
Richardson, who tested positive for marijuana after qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics and admitted its use prior to the US Olympic trials, was ineligible to compete in the Olympic 100 meters due to a one-month suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Russian figure skater, and gold medal favorite, Kamila Valieva tested positive for the drug trimetazadine. It improves blood supply to the heart in cardiac patients.
But in a quickly called meeting of the Court of Arbitration for Sports, with judges from Slovenia, Italy, and the United States, and with Valieva testifying via video, they ruled it was "not her fault" the tests results were delayed for two months. And, that at just 15 years old, she is "a protected minor."
Valieva will be allowed to compete in the women's figure skating competition after all.
"The only difference I see is I'm a black young lady," Richardson tweeted.
"It's all in the skin," she said in a second tweet. "Not one BLACK athlete has been about to compete with a case going on, I don't care what they say!!"
"You know it's just disappointing. It's the whole concept of win at all costs," said figure skating coach Sheila Thelen.
The Minnesota-based owner of Vestibular Training Services teaches the mechanics and muscle memory of figure skating spins. Her 25+ years of coaching experience includes athletes who went on to become Olympians.
"It's the part of parenting and it's the part of coaching where you are like, life is unfair. And life really feels unfair right now," she said, of the decision to allow the Russian skater to continue competing despite the positive doping test.
"And the fact that it's affecting young children. That if they have a choice in this we don't know. But this isn't what the whole concept of sports bring. Much less the concept of the Olympics," said Thelen.
USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan believes letting the skater continue is an even bigger controversy than Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.
"I can only imagine how the Chinese Olympic organizers feel right now," she told ABC News. "Because their games have just been literally blown up by Russian cheating. And now this time it explodes in the marquee event of these Olympic games."
But in Moscow, Associated Press photographers captured the Russian sentiment on one picture. A massive electronic billboard on the Salut hotel in Moscow says "Kamila, we are with you."
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee responded on Twitter as well, saying: "Athletes have the right to know they are competing on a level playing field. Unfortunately, today that right is being denied. This appears to be another chapter in the systemic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia."