Kamila Valieva-Sha’Carri Richardson’s Situation Isn’t About ‘The Rules’


Kamila Valieva skates at the Olympics, while Sha'Carri Richardson was unable to run at the Summer Games.

Kamila Valieva skates at the Olympics, while Sha’Carri Richardson was unable to run at the Summer Games.
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Unsurprisingly, Emmanuel Acho has nothing to say.

Just like the people who screamed and moaned that Sha’Carri Richardson “should have followed the rules” when the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspended her for a month and caused her to miss the Summer Olympics because she tested positive for marijuana, Acho — and that crowd — are usually quiet when it comes to Kamila Valieva.

On Tuesday, the 15-year-old white Russian – the figure skater, not the alcoholic drink – won the women’s short program at the Olympics despite stumbling early in her routine. She is the favorite and it is believed that she will probably win gold or at least a medal. But when, or if that happens, there will be no ceremony as the IOC tries to save face after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) allows Valieva to compete after she tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned substance.

Why is she allowed to participate despite breaking the rules?

Racism, even when people deny it.

“Legalizing weed in athletic competitions is all good if you’re riding a straight line. Legalizing weed on the track is terribly dangerous when you throw the javelin. Where do we draw the line?” Acho wrote in a now-deleted tweet in July† He then came on TV and said that the rules that bounced Richardson off running in the Olympics were “stupid,” but then he said, “You still have to play by the stupid rules. … Please let’s not make this racist.”

The CAS considers Valieva a “Protected Person” as she is under the age of 16, meaning they feel she should play by different rules than the adults, while still allowed to participate and be judged just like the adults . Valieva’s camp claims they… failed the test because of her grandfather’s medicinebut the New York Times reports that Valieva’s meteoric rise in the sport happened before failing her test.

How convenient.

“The panel was of the opinion that under the circumstances it would cause irreparable harm to the athlete to participate in the Olympics,” said CAS Director General Matthieu Reeb about the decision to let the young and picturesque star from Putin’s country compete.

For those who keep score at home:

The ‘loud’ and ‘snooty’ American girl with flowery hair and tattoos, who is unashamedly black and was a potential Olympic favorite, was banned from the competitions for smoking weed – a downer – after finding out her mother had died .

The “young” and “pure” Russian girl who looks like a Disney character is allowed to compete and win at the Games after failing a drug test for a banned substance that “is illegal for athletes to use both in and out of competition because it can increase blood flow efficiency and improve endurance

“Can we get a solid answer to the difference between (Valieva’s) situation and mines?” Richardson wrote on Twitter on Monday. “My mom died and I can’t run and was also preferred to finish in the top 3. The only difference I see is that I’m a black young lady,” Richardson tweeted† “By the way, THC is definitely not a performance enhancer!!!!,” she added:

Most importantly though: Richardson mentioned on Twitter was about how Valieva tested positive in December, but how it is only now coming to light. That wasn’t the case for Richardson, because we knew right away what her situation was, which allowed people to comment on it for weeks as we approached the Summer Games.

This situation is the perfect case study of how women are viewed and treated in sports and in life, depending on their race. And as infamous as the jokes about Russians playing dirty at the Olympics are, let’s not pretend the big difference between who Sha’Carri Richardson is and who many want Kamila Valieva to be isn’t the issue here. If this were about ‘the rules’ then this story would just be about two girls who were both punished for breaking them. But it’s not about ‘the rules’. What matters is how you look, determines whether the rules apply to you.

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