“It’s a joke” that Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is allowed to compete in the Winter Olympics after failing a drug test, former U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon told CNN.
Rippon also compared Valieva’s situation to that of Team USA’s Sha’Carri Richardson, who was banned from the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics after a positive marijuana test, calling it a “double standard”.
Valieva, 15, is at the center of a drug controversy after providing a positive test for a banned heart drug in December. Yesterday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport gave him the green light to compete despite everything.
Rippon said the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), for which Valieva competes, should be kicked out of the Olympics.
“The message doesn’t get through. And the punishment of not being able to compete under their flag and then changing their anthem as the only kind of consequence they have to face,” Rippon said. “Honestly, it’s laughable from an athlete’s perspective.”
Rippon said the Russians “have repeatedly shown that they don’t want to play by the rules.”
Comparing this to his own experience, Rippon – who won bronze in the Pyeongchang 2018 team event – said he was even afraid to take a multivitamin when competing.
“Dual standard”: On Monday, Richardson asked on Twitter why Valieva had been allowed to continue competing, months after a positive cannabis test derailed her own Olympic dreams.
Rippon said there was a “double standard” in how the two cases were handled.
“[Richardson’s] a young black woman. We all wanted to cheer him on. His personality is amazing. She’s an incredible athlete. She tested positive for marijuana. As soon as you saw… the US anti-doping agencies said you couldn’t compete. She was on TV the next day, apologizing, taking responsibility,” Rippon said.
In Valieva’s case, the Russian anti-doping agency first suspended her and then lifted the provisional ban after an appeal from the teenage skater.
“So these are two different agencies with two different protocols and two different standards of integrity…The Court of Arbitration here in Beijing did – I think it’s a joke. How can someone with a positive test still compete in the Olympics. “The fact is that the level playing field is level and everyone is in clean competition,” Rippon said.