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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 6, 2021

False post about Sha’Carri Richardson’s replacement at Olympics came from joke account

If Your Time is short

  • Jenna Prandini, who placed fourth at the Olympic trials for the 100-meter final, was notified that she would run in that race in Tokyo after Sha’Carri Richardson was suspended from the U.S. team for testing positive for marijuana. 


Sha’Carri Richardson, the American sprinter who was a favorite to win gold in the women’s 100 meters at the Tokyo Olympics, was suspended for a month from the U.S. Olympic team after testing positive for marijuana. 

Richardson said that she had used marijuana to cope with the unexpected death of her biological mother. But Richardson could still run in the 4x100 meter relay after her suspension if she’s named to the U.S. team, the New York Times reported.  

A screenshot of a tweet from @VictoryNewsNet that’s being shared on Facebook suggests that’s not happening.

"4th place runner Rebecca Washington is set to replace Sha’Carri Richardson on the U.S. Olympic team," the post said. "The Mormon athlete says she hopes to inspire the nation’s children to say ‘no’ to drugs."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

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The account @VictoryNewsNet describes itself on Twitter as a parody account. That’s not clear in the screenshot of the tweet that’s being shared. 

A few days after tweeting about Richardson being replaced on the U.S. team, the account wrote: "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."

The New York Times reported that Jenna Prandini, not Rebecca Washington, placed fourth at the Olympic trials for the 100-meter final and has been notified that she will be one of three American women running that race in Tokyo. Gabby Thomas, who placed fifth at the trials, was named as an alternate for the race, according to the New York Times. 

"Rebecca Washington," meanwhile, is not listed among the American women who ran in the track-and-field trials. We found no indication that this is an actual member of the U.S. Olympic team.

Searching for news coverage about Washington and the Olympic Games, we only found references to the false tweet. And the image of Washington used in the tweet also appears to be an altered picture of Prandini.

We rate claims that a runner named Rebecca Washington replaced Richardson on the U.S. Olympic team False.


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False post about Sha’Carri Richardson’s replacement at Olympics came from joke account

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