WASHINGTON — Throughout trials for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, we watched young and insanely talented athletes compete for the chance to show off their skills on the world's stage. The internet lit up when star sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson won her 100-meter sprint trial, securing herself as one of the fastest women in the world.
But when news broke that she was suspended from the games by the USADA for failing to pass a drug test, all kinds of claims about the team and her suspension popped up, including one with thousands of shares about her alleged "replacement," the fourth place runner Rebecca Washington.
Was a Mormon, anti-drug runner added to the U.S. Track and Field Olympic team to replace Sha'Carri Richardson?
No, the image is fake and was created by a satire/parody Twitter account.
WHAT WE FOUND
A few days after it was announced that star sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson was disqualified from the Tokyo Olympics for a failed drug test, a Twitter account posted a Tweet that claims that a Mormon, anti-drug runner would be replacing Richardson on Team USA.
It's been shared thousands of times by users who believed it was true, but the Tweet was posted by an account that notes in its bio that it's a parody account. Soon after the Richardson tweet blew up, the account tweeted "This is a parody account. We write funny fake news. If you see someone taking one of our made-up stories way too seriously, please let them know it's a joke."
Verify researchers took it a step further and checked the Team USA Track and Field team roster, and no one named Rebecca Washington is on the team. We also did an image search for the photo of the runner on the right, and found that it's a doctored photo of 2016 Team USA Olympic runner Jenna Prandini.
So we can verify that there is no Mormon, anti-drug 4th place runner replacing Richardson on Team USA. It was a parody post taken out of context.