“It’s a joke” that Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is being allowed to compete in the Winter Olympics after failing a drug test, American former 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 drugs controversy after providing a positive test for a banned heart medication in December. Yesterday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport gave her the green light to compete anyway.
Rippon said the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), which Valieva competes for, should be kicked out of the Olympics.
“The message is not getting through. And the punishment of just not being able to compete under their flag and then getting to change their anthem as like the only sort of consequence they need to face,” Rippon said. “Honestly, it is laughable from the point of the athlete.”
Rippon said the Russians have “repeatedly shown that they don’t want to play by the rules.”
Comparing it to his own experience, Rippon — who won bronze in the team event at Pyeongchang 2018 — said he was scared to even take a multivitamin when he was competing.
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 for her. Her personality is amazing. She’s an incredible athlete. She tested positive for marijuana. Immediately you saw … the US anti-doping agencies said you can’t compete. She was on TV the next day, apologizing, taking accountability,” Rippon said.
In Valieva’s case, the Russian doping agency first suspended her and then lifted the provisional ban after an appeal from the teenage skater.
“So it’s two different agencies with two different protocols and two different integrity standards… The Court of Arbitration here in Beijing made — I think it is a joke. How does somebody with a positive test still get to compete in the Olympic Games.? The whole point is that it is a level playing field and everyone is competing clean,” Rippon said.