On July 8, retired American gymnast Dominique Dawes weighed in on Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension from the Tokyo Olympics following her positive marijuana test, and the three-time Olympic gold medalist said she isn’t siding with the 21-year-old sprinter’s career halting decision.
Dawes appeared on Primetime With CNN’s Andrew Cuomo on July 7, and explained while she sympathized with the 100-m dash star, who later admitted that her actions resulted from the death of her biological mother, that unfortunately, “rules are rules.”
”And you’re speaking to an Olympic gymnast, and we are very particular and we are rule followers for most cases.” Dawes continued. “I do think, you know, because it is a current rule, they need to follow the rule, and unfortunately that does mean that Richardson will not be competing in these Olympic games.”
Dawes went on to cite an experience within her own personal career where other gymnasts failed to follow rules and standards in the 2000 Olympic games.
“My last Olympic games, there were rules out with regards to the age that an athlete had to be,” Dawes recalled. “However, Chinese gymnasts were underage, and that truly affected myself and my teammates from getting on the podium and getting a bronze medal during the 2000 Olympic games. So I’m a rule-follower.”
The U.S. National Senior Champion also mentioned the case of Romanian Olympic gymnast Andreea Raducan who was stripped of her 2000 Olympic all-around title after testing positive for a banned substance from cold medicine pills.
Ultimately the former gymnast harped that despite Richardson’s devastating suspension that the organization needs to start viewing athletes as “human” and that the media should consider the emotional well-being of players.
“You know that’s going to affect someone’s emotional state tremendously,” Dawes mentioned of Sha’Carri’s use of marijuana due to the death of her mother.
“This is very similar to Noami Osaka when she had a tough time in a match and decided that she was not going to partake in an interview and then was fined $15,000 and even was going to be further penalized and possibly disqualified from that competition. You have to think about these athletes as humans and to recognize that they will be affected emotionally,” concluded Dawes.
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