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Prominent UFC commentator and podcaster Joe Rogan has described the relatively meagre income of Olympic athletes as 'disgusting' and 'corrupt' in an eye-opening rant on his show.
Rogan's podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, is the most listened-to podcast in the world - and he used it to take aim at the Olympics in the wake of US sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson's 30-day suspension for using cannabis.
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Describing the decision to exclude the 21-year-old Richardson, who was a strong medal chance in the 100m sprint, as '100 per cent horses**t', Rogan said there was clear inequities between Olympic athletes and other athletes earning millions in domestic sporting leagues.
He argued athletes who are in it to represent their country deserved more recognition and acclaim - and a fair go from the Olympics.
Rogan is also well-known for using cannabis while recording his show with guests - his interview with Tesla boss Elon Musk a prime example.
“All the winners of the gold medals, all those people that are generating insane amounts of wealth for the Olympics, they should get a giant piece of that,” Rogan said.
“They’re responsible for the reason why people are watching the Olympics.
“The networks are making (money) and the IOC is making it and all these other people are making it and the athletes, the whole reason people are tuning in, they get nothing.
"It’s insane! It’s a disgusting, corrupt system.”
Richardson tested positive to traces of cannabis after an impressive performance at the US Olympic trials, where she firmed as a gold medal favourite in the 100m with a time of 10.86 seconds.
She said she used marijuana ahead of the Olympics Trials in Oregon, where marijuana is legal, after learning of the death of her biological mother from a “complete stranger.”
That news, she said, sent her into “a state of emotional panic.”
Sha'Carri Richardson speaks out after Tokyo Olympics ban
The ban knocked the medal favourite out of the marquee 100-meter dash at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
But the timing of the suspension left open the possibility she could compete in the 4x100 relay event for Team USA.
Those dreams were dashed as well when USA Track & Field announced its roster without Richardson's name on it. USATF explained its decision in a statement shortly after the roster was released:
"All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances.
"So while our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realise their dreams by securing a place on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team."
Richardson apologised for her positive test soon afterwards, taking full responsibility for breaking the rules, and also tweeted "I am human," which garnered wide support from fans.
She later came back to Twitter to thank her supporters and let everyone know that despite her positive test and absence at the Olympics, she's already looking forward and not backwards.
The games definitely won't be the same without Richardson, who was a medal favorite and expected to be serious competition for Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, two-time 100-meter gold medalist.
Richardson also tweeted that she's "glad" she's not one of the "perfect people" who have been telling her how to live her life.
Richardson may not be competing in her signature event at the Olympics in a few weeks, but she's obviously not going to let this setback keep her down.
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