The Olympic organisers have managed to tie themselves up in knots after American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for traces of cannabis and was banned from competing, while at the same time they let New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard compete as a woman despite testing positive for something far more likely to give her an edge – traces of a penis.
Ask any female competitor at the Tokyo Games due to start on July 23 whether they would rather compete against an athlete who smoked a bit of weed, or one who lived as a man for 35 years, with the resultant gains that male puberty affords in terms of bone density and muscle mass, and they’d be reaching for the Rizlas before you could say, “On your marks!”
As has been pointed out in very stark terms in a Duke University study, at the elite level of athletic competition, XY (male) athletes have an average 10 to 12 percent performance advantage over XX (women) competitors, depending on the event. In weightlifting, the event in which Laurel Hubbard competes and is ranked 17th in the world, the advantage can be up to 30 percent. Cannabis affords no such edge.
Former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, who has bravely ventured into the debate over the athlete formerly known as Gavin Hubbard, has suggested that if transgender competitors are allowed to compete as female athletes then XX-born, for clarity’s sake, would never win another gold medal. “If we had co-ed sport at the Olympics we’d have no female champions,” she said in one interview.
In anyone’s rule book that seems grossly unfair. By all means, introduce a transgender category for elite athletes; we already have age groups for juniors and a hugely successful Paralympic programme in order to level out the playing field. Just don’t pretend that virtue signalling, bowing to the trans lobby and painting the Olympic rings in rainbow colours is some sort of ‘inclusivity’ achievement.
Meanwhile, in the USA as of July 1, new laws mean recreational cannabis use is now legal in a total of 18 states – including Oregon, where Richardson took first place in the 100m sprint in the US Olympic trials – and use of the drug for medical purposes is permitted in a further 18 states.
So the 21-year-old sprinter wasn’t breaking any law, and neither was she running backwards down the track, giggling uncontrollably and shouting, “Where’s the number for the pizza guy?” But the World Anti-Doping Agency wasn’t amused and considers that, although it might not be performance-enhancing, the use of cannabis violates the “spirit of the sport.”
Confusingly, while this meant Richardson was slapped with a 30-day ban – which, thanks to Tokyo scheduling, excludes her from the individual 100m showcase event – that ban will have expired by the time the 4 x 100m relay is contested, so she may still compete there. How does this make WADA look in terms of the message it is sending out? “Look, it’s not okay but it’s, you know, okay a week later.”
Not that I’m calling for harsher punishment, just consistency. And anyway, from what I recall about the Olympic principles as handed down from Mount Olympus in Greece by the ancient god Zeus all those years ago, there was no mention of smoking weed or ingesting cannabis cookies being frowned upon. Or was that something I dreamt?
As one of the fastest women in the world, Sha’Carri Richardson has box office appeal. With her bright orange hair, false eyelashes as long as your fingers and some dodgy ink she’s an inspiration to young girls everywhere.
She’s being banned from competing, however, because of fuzzy WADA rules about “the spirit of sport” – while at the same time, the IOC’s egregious breach of fairness is being waved through for fear of upsetting the gender gestapo. Equality be damned.
Sitting on his throne, Zeus must be scratching his head and thinking, “Time for another brownie.”
If you like this story, share it with a friend!
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
© 2021, paradox. All rights reserved.