A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee is denying showing favoritism to a white Russian figure skater whose drug test came back positive for a "cocktail" of heart medications banned by the games.
"It must be very tough for her," an IOC spokesperson said of 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva in a statement Wednesday (February 16). "She is in the center of a lot of speculation."
The statement came after track star Sha'Carri Richardson accused the committee of drug test double standards this week after she was barred from running in the Tokyo Games last year over a positive marijuana test while Valieva has been permitted to compete.
"Can we get a solid answers on the difference of her situation and mines?" Richardson wrote in a tweet. "My mother died and I can't run and was also favored to place top 3. The only difference I see is I'm a black young lady."
The committee denied a double standard, stating that "You can't talk about double standards in relation to Russian and American athletes, each case is individual."
"Richardson's positive doping test was discovered on 19 June, and the result was received before the start of the Olympics. She was suspended for a month. There is nothing in common between these two cases," the spokesperson said.
"This Games, which has not concluded, concerns an issue in December," the statement added. "We of course are in touch with the team, her 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."
If Valieva wins on Thursday (February 17) the committee says there will be an asterisk by her name in the record book, since there hasn't been a hearing to officially rule on doping.
Questions about doping didn't come up until after Valieva won gold, in which she hinted that the medication got into her system after she shared a glass of water with her grandfather. Since she's a minor, she is considered a "protected person" and has to follow different rules as laid out by the committee.