FACT CHECK: Is Rebecca Washington Replacing Sha’Carri Richardson On The US Olympic Track And Field Team?
An image shared on Facebook over 100 times claims Rebecca Washington is replacing American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson on the U.S. Olympics track and field team.
Washington is not on the U.S. track and field team, according to USA Track and Field (USATF). The claim stems from a parody Twitter page.
Richardson received a one-month suspension beginning June 28 after testing positive for THC, the active chemical in cannabis, which prevents her from competing in the women’s 100-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics, NBC News reported. While her suspension ends before the women’s 4×100-meter relay, the team’s roster released by USATF on July 6 showed she would not be on the team, according to CNN.
Now, a post on Facebook shows what appears to be a screen grab of a tweet sent by Victory News Network. “4th place runner Rebecca Washington is set to replace Sha’Carri Richardson on the U.S. Olympic team,” the tweet reads. “The Mormon athlete says she hopes to help inspire the nation’s children to say ‘no’ to drugs.” An image included in the tweet seemingly shows a photo of Washington next to a photo of Richardson, and claims Washington said, “this is all part of God’s Plan for me.”
The image in the tweet actually shows a doctored image of American sprinter Jenna Prandini, who came in fourth place during the Olympic trials, according to NBC Sports. Prandini will be running the 100-meter race during the Tokyo Games, in place of Richardson, along with the second and third place finishers of the trials, according to USATF’s roster. (RELATED: No, Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard Has Not Suffered An Injury That Prevents Her From Going To The Tokyo Olympics)
A search of USATF’s roster of the olympic team shows no athlete by the name “Rebecca Washington.” Susan Hazzard, the director of public relations for USATF further confirmed to Check Your Fact that “There’s no such athlete named ‘Rebecca Washington.'”
Victory News Network, the account which sent the tweet shown in the Facebook image, describes itself as parody in its Twitter bio, indicating the tweet was not meant to be serious. Prandini on July 3 sent a tweet addressing the false claims, saying: “Any article claiming I have made statements regarding the current situation are completely false.”