Thursday, June 9, 2016

Getting The Sharap(ova) End Of The Stick

Tennis star Maria Sharapova now faces a two-year suspension from the sport after testing positive for doping.  She's appealing her suspension to the sports world's governing body, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, a World Anti-Doping Agency banned substance, following a January 26 urine test. Sharapova admitted to the ITF and to the press in March that she had used the substance. 
Sharapova said she had been taking a medicine known to her as mildronate, which she said she did not know is also called meldonium, for 10 years, and that the WADA had only added meldonium to the list of banned substances starting January 2016. She characterized the doping as unintentional. 
The tennis player had a hearing in May in front of an Independent Tribunal, after which it was determined she should be suspended for two years retroactive to January 26, and have the results of her Australian Open “disqualified.” 
On Facebook, Sharapova said she will appeal the suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, calling the two-year suspension “unfairly harsh.”

I have to wonder about anyone using a "medicine" for ten years to improve her performance and then saying "Oh gosh, I didn't know". We're not talking Flintstones vitamins here, guys.

In the Independent Tribunal’s report on Sharapova’s suspension, it said she is the “sole author of her own misfortune”:

The contravention of the anti-doping rules was not intentional as Ms Sharapova did not appreciate that Mildronate contained a substance prohibited from 1 January 2016. However she does bear sole responsibility for the contravention, and very significant fault, in failing to take any steps to check whether the continued use of this medicine was permissible. If she had not concealed her use of Mildronate from the anti-doping authorities, members of her own support team and the doctors whom she consulted, but had sought advice, then the contravention would have been avoided.

In other words, Sharapova was using this stuff for a decade and got away with it because she was using it secretly.  If she had asked any of her doctors or WADA, they could have helped and settled the matter privately. She didn't, and she's paying a heavy price for it.

The WADA doesn't screw around.  Ask Marion Jones or Lance Armstrong sometime.

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