Tokyo 2020: Four athletes mired in controversy ahead of Olympic Games

Here are four athletes who found themselves in the middle of a controversy in the runup to the Tokyo Games.

When New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard created history by becoming the first openly transgender athlete to qualify for the Olympics, the news was met by equal parts of excitement and controversy. People batting for more inclusion at the Games – and in sport in general – savoured this significant moment. The New Zealand Olympic officials who made the call on “a highly sensitive and complex issue” said she met the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) criteria to compete as a woman and had earned her right to respect and inclusion. Photo: Getty Images
American track sensation Sha’Carri Richardson was supposed to be one of the hottest medal prospects in Tokyo. The 21-year-old Richardson ran a 10.72 in Florida in April, becoming the sixth-fastest woman in 100m history. She followed it up with a 10.86 at the US Olympic trials. However, Richardson was handed a one-month suspension on July 1 and her result at the trials were invalidated after she tested positive for marijuana use. Photo: USA TODAY Sports
Gwen Berry, an American hammer-throw specialist, was mired in controversy during the US Olympic track and field trials in Oregon when she turned away from the flag as the American national anthem played while she was on the podium. She then draped a T-shirt bearing the words “activist athlete” over her head. Berry had finished third in the trials, and with the fourth-best throw of the season (76.79m), she is a medal prospect at Tokyo. Photo: AP
Kamalpreet Kaur
Indian discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur raised eyebrows in March when she recorded a throw of 65.06m, beating Krishna Poonia’s nine-year-old national record of 64.76m. The 25-year-old, who has qualified for Tokyo, managed to better her record with a 66.59m throw during the Indian Grand Prix 4 at Patiala on June 21. Among those watching closely was a fellow discus thrower and former Asian Games gold medallist Seema Punia. The veteran, who has qualified for her fourth Olympics, demanded a hyperandrogenism test for Kamalpreet after her drastic improvement in performance within a short period. Photo: Twitter/@afiindia