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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has responded to American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s claims there was a double standard concerning her disqualification from last year’s Summer Olympic Games and Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva being allowed to compete in the current Winter Olympics after testing positive with a banned drug. 

Richardson called out the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) earlier this week for its decision to allow Valieva to continue competing in the ongoing Beijing Olympics after the 15-year-old was flagged for using trimetazidine, which increases blood flow to the heart.

The 21-year-old sprinter claimed the difference in ruling between her and Valieva was “all in the skin” and implied she received a harsher ruling than the teenager because she’s a “Black young lady.”

Richardson lost her chance to compete in the 2021 Summer Olympics after receiving a 30-day ban over testing positive for marijuana, which she smoked to cope with the pain she felt after her biological mother unexpectedly passed away.

IOC spokesperson Mark Adams disputed Richardson’s double standard claim during the organization’s daily press conference on Feb. 16. 

“You can’t talk about double standards in relation to Russian and American athletes, each case is individual,” he stated, according to Yahoo News

“Every single case is very different,” Adams further explained, as detailed by Reuters. “She [Richardson] tested positive on June 19 [2021], quite a way ahead of the Tokyo Games.”

“Her results came in early order for USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) to deal with the case on time, before the Games. Ms. Richardson accepted a one-month period of ineligibility which began on June 28.”

“I would suggest that there isn’t a great deal of similarity between the two cases,” the IOC spokesperson said after highlighting that last year’s Summer Games began on July 23.

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Speaking on Valieva and her participation in Beijing, Adams added, “This Games, which has not concluded, concerns an issue in December. She [Valieva] is in the center of a lot of speculation. It must be very tough for her.”

“We of course are in touch with the team, her [Valieva’s] welfare is the team’s first priority, and obviously we are very careful of that but there’s only so much that we can do.” 

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