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Kamila Valieva

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva.

The Olympics are upon us again and as we all gather around the television, or keep track of the medals won via our mobile device, there now seems to be a bit of a shadow. Not only are athletes having to contend with the COVID-19 crisis and strict protocols, resulting in no fans to cheer them on, and losing some team members to quarantine, they’re also contending with a new doping scandal.

Fifteen-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for a restricted substance, which should have disqualified her from competing. This disqualification would have cost Russia the gold, but as the world awaited the decision, we were left with more questions than answers. Valieva would be allowed to continue to compete.



Last summer we saw a different scenario play out with Sha’Carri Richardson, a young American runner who was poised to medal in the summer Olympics but was disqualified for a failed drug test shortly before the games were scheduled to start. Richardson tested positive for marijuana, which she admitted after finding out her mother died during an interview. The committee knew what transpired that led to the lapse in judgment, and Richardson took accountability for her mistake, yet she was still disqualified in an effort to keep the Olympic games drug-free and the rules fairly applied across the board.

With the news of Kamila Valieva failing her drug test for a substance called trimetazidine, people are scratching their heads, including Richardson. Trimetazidine is a heart medication that can be used as a performance enhancer due to its ability to increase blood flow to the heart, which then pumps more blood to the muscles enhancing one's ability to compete. Richardson posted to Twitter calling out the decision-makers, saying “Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines? My mother died and I can’t run and was also favored to place top 3. The only difference I can see is I’m a black young lady.”

While Valieva is young, and the drugs found in her system were likely the result of the adults around her hoping to give her an edge over the competition, it still doesn’t fall in line with the anti-doping rules of the Olympic Committee, yet the Court of Arbitration for Sports has given the green light for Valieva’s continued participation. This decision not only seems to disregard the athletes working to compete in a way that is fair, but also those who have stayed clean of any and all performance-enhancing substances. The decision is also one in stark contrast to the one swiftly handed down to Richardson, so one must ask what the difference could be?

Marijuana isn’t known for enhancing anyone’s ability to do anything other than watch a marathon of your favorite show on Netflix while eating your weight in chips and queso, but that didn’t seem to matter when it counted most for Richardson. This is a tale of two athletes. One, a white child with adults around her likely making the poor decision to violate the anti-doping rules, and the other, a Black young woman who made a poor choice in her grief after she found out she lost her mother from a reporter during an interview on live television. Why is one the exception to the rule?

There seems to be a fairly clear answer to this question, but according to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, it would have caused Valieva “irreparable harm” to be disqualified. If irreparable harm is the factor that keeps Kamila Valieva in the games, then we all owe Richardson a heartfelt apology. Her mother passed away, and she was informed in a way that would’ve crushed anyone, and yet she had to sit out a career-changing and life-altering moment because she grieved in the way that brought her a moment of relief.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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