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Beijing 2022 Olympics: figure skating training

Source: Valery Sharifulin / Getty

After news broke of a doping scandal at the Beijing Winter Olympics, Track and Field Olympic hopeful Sha’carri Richardson questioned the fairness of the recent decision to allow a Russian figure skater to compete. While Richardson and Valieva’s cases do not compare exactly, it’s understandable why Richardson would question the sudden empathy given her circumstances.  

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, 15, can compete despite a prior preliminary suspension for suspected doping. The International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency and International Skating Union appealed a decision allowing Valieva to compete in the Court of Arbitration for Sports.  

Ultimately the Court of Arbitration for Sports allowed Valieva to compete because of her age, making her a “protected person” by the definition of the World Anti-Doping Agency. It also found that given the absence of clear rules for preliminary suspension of an underage competitor, Valieva could compete while the investigation into the doping allegation continues.  

Despite the differences between Richardson and Valieva’s cases, Trimetazidine, the substance Valieva allegedly took, is illegal for athletes regardless of whether it’s the Olympic period or not. And there are penalties for doping by protected persons, so it makes sense that even a preliminary suspension could apply to them.

According to Time, the World Anti-Doping Agency believes the Court failed to apply the clear rules to Valieva’s case.   

The Court’s willingness to set aside the spirit of the rules against doping and competition and prioritize a clean sport doesn’t sit well with many. A Chicago NBC affiliate spoke with Team USA Skater Jessica Calalang, who had to sit out a recent season due to a false positive before being cleared. Calalang posted about the ordeal on Instagram in October 2021.  

The consideration being given to Valieva raises concerns about inappropriate actions of adults around her and possibly even the Russian Olympic Committee itself. Japanese American figure skater Mirai Nagasu suggested people stop and consider the system within which the young competitor has been socialized. 

Nagasu previously told Insider that she believes in a clean sport while she empathizes with the teen. The retired skater also took issue with making other athletes suffer because of Valieva’s case. The decision was made that there would not be a medal ceremony if Valieva placed in the top three.  

It’s doubtful that any of the involved international bodies would let a Black-led country or Black athletes get away with the same wait and compete accommodation.  

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Erin Jackson Makes Black History With Speed Skating Win At The Winter Olympics 

Sha’Carri Richardson Suggests Racist ‘Difference’ In Olympic Doping Ruling Involving Russian Skater  was originally published on newsone.com