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The problem with the Olympic Games and its arbitrary rules

Day in and day out, new ways continue to emerge to criminalize Black bodies. Indeed, rules are rules, as is the case for Sha’Carri Richardson, who was placed on a 30-day Olympic Games ban after testing positive for cannabis. But are these rules fair, wise, and unarbitrary? Let’s dive deeper to find the answers.

The entire situation is a shame from top to bottom. Whether it be the arbitrary rule makers or those involved that profit off of cannabis investments yet do not allow it to be consumed.

The situation of Sha’Carri Richardson and the Olympic Games’ rules

Sha’Carri was dealing with the death of her mother and decided to toke one in order to cope in the state of Oregon. There, the medicinal plant is recreationally legal, and as they say, everyone deals with grief differently.

She obeyed social distancing by creating a special headspace for herself to overcome the death of her birth giver. Weeks before the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games are set to begin, one of the most electrifying 100m runners will be unable to compete for Team U.S.A.

sha'carri richardson arbitrary rules
Seemingly, the era and setting where the World Anti-Doping Agency developed its principles on cannabis (via British Library)

The World Anti-Doping Agency (W.A.D.A.) deemed her ineligible due to a failed drug test for cannabis.

The World Anti-Doping Agency

The W.A.D.A. was formed after the 1998 Tour de France scandal when PEDs ran rampant. The only issue here is, there is absolutely no evidence that marijuana enhances performance. 

“We develop policies, procedures and practices that reflect justice, equity and integrity. We are self-reflective and ask for feedback.”

W.A.D.A. Core Values

It is common for the rest of the Western world to follow the lead of the U.S. when it comes to issues such as this one. Two out of three rule writers for drug testing in the Olympics are W.A.D.A. employees.

The third is Marilyn Huestis, who served as a toxicologist and researcher for the National Insitute on Drug Abuse through the U.S. government. 

olympic games rules
The war on drugs continues to punish those with darker skin even though it is widely accepted (via Markos Mant)

The irony of the fact that 18 states have decriminalized, mainstream acceptance is on the rise and Sha’Carri Richardson partook in a private session to blast through adversity is not lost upon us.

The W.A.D.A. determines that a substance must meet two out of these three criteria in order to become prohibited. It must:

  1. Pose a health risk to athletes
  2. Have the potential to enhance performance
  3. Violate the spirit of sport

Richardson toed a fine line with her decision as cannabis is a tricky substance given the fact that it remains a Schedule 1 drug. For whatever absurd reason, cannabis cannot be considered federally medicinal, only on a state-by-state basis.

The cannabis plant is medicinal. (via Kimzy Nanney)

Does cannabis use deserve to be a bannable offense?

The intriguing portion about Sha’Carri’s predicament is the fact that cannabis serves no bearing on her performance whatsoever. While the W.A.D.A. deems it ‘deleterious’ and ‘performance-enhancing,’ the fact of the matter is it is neither of those things.

It is not harmful nor anti-motivational, and yet rather it brings relief to said individual. It just goes to show that common sense is not too common and evidence does not always need to be provided in order to make classifications.

There is no proof that shows any compounds within cannabis makes people stronger or gives them an unfair advantage. Then again, there is much too little research to support cannabis data altogether. 

The problematic and unjust rules of the Olympic Games

In other news: Tokyo has declared a coronavirus state of emergency two weeks prior to the commencement of the Olympic Games.

Soul Cap swimwear has been banned, and the merchandise was designed specifically for natural Black hair. It has been disallowed for use as it ‘does not fit the form of a natural head.’ When we speak of arbitrary Olympic Games rules, this is exactly what we mean.

Republican Congressmembers Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Dan Crenshaw (TX) are calling for U.S. hammer thrower Gwen Berry to be banned due to a silent protest where she turned away from the U.S. flag during a trials medal ceremony. 

All in all, freedom does not seem to apply to everyone equally. Are you surprised in any form or fashion? Stay classy, friends.