Well, she’s not wrong.

I’ve been watching figure skating a long time, there aren’t very many competitive Black skaters, but trust me the few who’ve popped up are always held to a different standard in terms of style, costumes and look. It’s worth noting that Richardson was 21 when she made her mistakes and Valieva is a minor surrounded by adults who clearly care about winning more than her well-being. That being said, yes let’s get into it.

Richardson was ridiculed and vilified in a way that a white female athlete never would be. People could not wait to get jokes off at her expense, but somehow Valieva has been treated to a compassion Sha’Carri was never afforded. I’m in no way saying the internet should be dunking on a child who lives and skates in a system that doesn’t necessarily allow for freedom of choice, however, let’s also not act like everyone makes the best decisions when they’re 21.

This situation also raises questions about how Valieva was able to be at the Olympics in the first place. Those answers may never come, as Russia isn’t really providing any. Though if rumor and speculation are to be believed, the country allegedly just didn’t report the test. In Richardson’s case, the United States did everything they were supposed to, and she was suspended.


Why would Russia do such a thing? Valieva is one of the best skaters in the world and a presumptive gold medalist. In fact, Russia has three of the top women in the world, with a legitimate chance at a medal sweep. As if that wasn’t enough, the Court of Arbitration for Sport spent a full week trying to decide if Valieva could still compete.

Another serious difference Richardson took note of, tweeting “Failed in December and the world just now know however my [result] was posted within a week and my name & talent was slaughtered to the people.”


According to Yahoo Sports, IOC member Denis Oswald said that Valieva’s lawyers argued to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that it was an accident with her grandfather’s medicine.


“Her argument was contamination which happened with a product her grandfather was taking,” Oswald said

And here I thought the rules were pretty simple. Test positive for a banned substance, you don’t get to skate. This is yet another example of how the deck is stacked against Black athletes, because there is no way Sha’Carri could have said she wasn’t smoking, she was just in the room and a random Court would have said, “Sure, go ahead and race.”


As usual, the only recourse for Black athletes is to not only be the best but also be perfect while you’re doing it. By the way, Valieva is in first place following the short program, and if she gets on the podium there will be no medal ceremony, so basically everyone is being punished for her team’s rule-breaking.