All the Scandals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Part 1

The long awaited and anticipated Olympics of 2020 is finally happening this summer in 2021. Whilst it’s evidently had to have changes due to COVID these list of events and scandals that have occurred, cannot be ignored and swept under the carpet, as most media outlets are doing.

Let’s have a look at Part 1:

  1. Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for Marijuana

All the Scandals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Part 1 | Rock & Art

Let’s begin with the event that arguably sparked the most controversity leading up to the Olympics. At the beginning of July, Richardson came first in the 100-meter competition, meaning she therefore secured herself a spot at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Richardson, 21 years old, completed her run in 10.86 seconds and earned herself the title of ‘The Fastest Woman in America’. After she qualified and realized she came first, Richardson ran straight into her grandmother’s arms, a sweet and touching moment that was to be played and streamed all over the internet.

A couple of weeks later however, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced publicly that Richardson had tested positive for a chemical that is found in marijuana. Consequently, her results at the trials in Oregon became invalid. This created an issue: the use of marijuana in Oregon is legal, however, it is not legal in all states of America. Therefore, Richardson lost her place at the 2020 Olympics.

Richardson explained later, that she used marijuana to cope with the passing of her biological mother. Richardson found out about the death of her mother from a reporter while she was in Oregon for the trials. Richardson took accountability for her actions by apologizing and issuing a statement, stating she knew what was at stake, but the pain of losing her mother became difficult to deal with.

Before the suspension was announced, Richardson tweeted, “I am human”.

Many celebrities and athletes have actively voiced their support for Richardson, including Nike who issued this statement:

“We appreciate Sha’Carri’s honesty and accountability and will continue to support her through this time”.

President Joe Biden issued this statement:

“The rules are the rules…Whether that should remain the rule is a different issue, but the rules are the rules. And I was really proud of her, the way she responded”

  1. Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi barred from competing

Two Namibian sprinters, Christine and Beatrice, have been barred from the Tokyo Olympics by the World Athletics organization.


The Namibian Olympic Committee issued an official statement, stating that Mboma and Masilingi were deemed as ineligible to compete in the Olympics because of their naturally high levels of testosterone.

They commented that these high levels of testosterone were above the threshold which is allowed by World Athletics, which is the international governing body for track and field.

The only way Mboma and Masilingi could be allowed to compete would be if they lowered their testosterone levels by taking medication.

The policy states that in order to be classified as female, an athlete “must be recognised at law either as female or as intersex” and “reduce her blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months”. This policy continues by stating that this blood-testosterone level must stay below the stated measurement “for so long as she wishes to remain eligible”.

Furthermore, this policy was under scrutiny as it has prevents Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui. These three women are the medal winners in the 800 meters at the 2016 Olympics.

Subsequently, these three women have been barred from competing in the 800 meters at the 2020 Tokyo Games because of their naturally high levels of testosterone.

  1. Becca Myers: forced to drop out of the Paralympics after she was refused proper accommodations

The USA Paralympic swimmer, Becca Meyers, has been forced to drop out of the Paralympics. Meyers, a deaf and blind Paralympic swimmer, was prevented from bringing her own personal care assistant (PCA) to the games, which is usually her mother.


As a result of COVID, there has been a decision to have a single PCAC for all USA Paralympic swimmers in Tokyo.

Meyers commented saying she was “heartbroken” at having to make the “gut-wrenching” decision to back out. Meyers continued by stating on Twitter: “I’m angry, I’m disappointed, but most of all, I’m sad not to be representing my country”.

Meyers has stated that the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has “repeatedly denied my reasonable and essential accommodation” that would enable her to compete in Tokyo.

Meyers continued by stating:

“With Covid, there are new safety measures and limits of non-essential staff in place, rightfully so, but a trusted PCA is essential for me to compete”

“So, in 2021, why as a disabled person am I still fighting for my rights? I’m speaking up for future generations of Paralympic athletes in the hope that they never have to experience the pain I’ve been through. Enough is enough.”

Meyers was supposed to appear at her third Paralympics, having made her debut in London 2012, where she won two silvers and a bronze. In Rio, four years later, Meyers won three gold medals.

  1. Swimming caps created for natural black hair by Soul Cap are banned from the Olympics


Swimming caps designed for natural black hair, created by a black-owned brand (Soul Cap) have been banned from the Olympics.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) stated that the caps did not fit “the natural form of the head”. FINA continued by stating that to their “best knowledge the athletes competing at the international events never used, neither required…caps of such size and configuration”.

Danielle Obe, who is the founding member of the Black Swimming Association, stated:

“We believe that it confirms a lack of diversity in (the sport)…Aquatic swimming must do better.”

The original swimming cap, designed by Speedo 50, was created to prevent those with Caucasian hair from flowing into swimmers’ faces. Obe said the caps do not work for afro hair, which “grows up and defies gravity.” Obe continued by stating, “We need the space and the volume which products like the Soul Caps allow for. Inclusivity is realizing that no one head shape is ‘normal’”.

Whilst there are other swim caps for afro hair, they are difficult to find. Consequently this creates a sense and feeling of exclusion for members of the black and minority ethnic community, as Obe states.

“If I walked into my local health club, gym or leisure centre, could I readily pick up one of these (swim caps for afro hair)? No…Can I walk into a general retail store like ASDA, Tesco or Sports Direct and pick one up? No.”

According to Swim England, swimming’s governing body, only 2% of regular swimmers are black. Swim England found that 95% of black adults and 80% of black children in England do not swim. 79% of Asian adults and 79% of Asian children do not swim. Finally, Swim England found that black children are three times more likely to drown than white children.

Read part 2 for more information and scandals of the 2020 Olympics.