Sharapova failed a drug test! Hadn’t read updated list of banned substances.

Maria Sharapova - 2015 WTA Finals -DSC_5426

At the urgent press conference held just moments ago in Los Angeles, Maria Sharapova, looking very sad and wearing all black (I first thought that she would, God forbid, announce a death of a family member), revealed that in January she failed a drug test and now her career is put on hold. So, the retirement speculations were not true. Maria emphasized that she does want to play again, but we’ll see what will happen in the process that is about to take place.

I don’t want to end my career this way and I really hope that I will be given another chance to play this game.

Initially I was afraid we would have a Lance Armstrong story, but luckily that was not the development of this press conference. The story is that Maria started taking a medication called Mildronate back in 2006 for a variety of health issues. The medicine contains a substance called Meldonium and only this year has it become banned. Maria did receive a notice on December 22nd with an updated list of banned substances, but she didn’t look at it and now she’s paying the price. OMG, I’m thinking of all my agreements and Terms of Service I haven’t read.

Watch the press conference here:

As always, Maria was a class act. She took full responsibility for the situation. She didn’t blame the doctor, nor anyone from her team, just herself for not being more careful. What the consequences will be we’re yet to see, but I hope that they will be gentle to Maria, as I’m sure she didn’t do this on purpose.

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17 thoughts on “Sharapova failed a drug test! Hadn’t read updated list of banned substances.

  1. Jim

    When I first heard that Masha was going to have a press conference today, I truly thought that she was going to announce her retirement. But this? Wow! She may as well retire. She is still very marketable without ever playing another match.

  2. Claire

    “Did not do this on purpose”??? She “failed to notice” that the chemical substance she has been taking for 10 years is now forbidden, and took it anyway. That is called doping. Of course you cannot blame her officially for taking it for 10 years when while it was not forbidden, but still, the question is – WHY does a “healthy and sporty” athlete think it is OK to take a prescription drug normally prescribed to patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction? It is about attitude, I think.

  3. Ian

    I’m one of her biggest fans, she is the one who inspired me to play tennis ever since i was a kid, kinda dissapointed with her situation, but Im sure it wasnt fully her fault. As always like WTB always says she is always class act, never cracked with what media says about her like her losing streak to Serena, her grunting too loud n etc. She is still an inspiration, i hope ITF dont banned her too long. I will still support her 🙂

  4. Gregoire Gentil

    Good crisis PR management from Maria… I’m not a fan at all of Maria but I almost liked her this morning!

    Three interesting paragraphs from SI.com:
    http://www.si.com/tennis/2016/03/07/maria-sharapova-positive-test-meldonium-drug-history-benefits

    “Among the positive benefits of Meldonium in endurance sports are decreased levels of lactate and urea in blood, glycogen increase during extended exercise, increased rate of recovery and increased heart function. The drug was recommended to treat patients with ischemic disorders of the cerebral circulation.

    While Ivars Kalvins, the inventor of Mildronate (another name for the drug), may not call it a performance enhancing drug, clinical trials on humans have proven to show effects. Much like EPO, which was invented with illnesses in mind, athletes soon discovered the benefits for sport.

    Some athletes from the USSR have been rumored to use it for years for heart support. Sharapova said she had been prescribed the supplement for about 10 years to treat medical issues, including abnormal EKG readings, a magnesium deficiency and more.”

  5. ferondi

    To me, this is just another evidence of why Maria Sharapova is a true CHAMPION because not only she is grateful when she is winning but she is being graceful when tough situations like this stands in her way…. Her reputation is too strong to be ruined by one genuine mistake.

    I believe she will have to take the consequences to remind us the basic rule of life where if you make mistake there will be consequences but no matter what the consequences the ITF will give to her, it will do her good. She can have time to recover physically and mentally and she can close this “comeback” chapter since 2011 and start a new one just like Serena, Roger, Stan, venus and many other players in their 30’s have done…….

    As for this moment, to me Maria Sharapova is not only a true Tennis Champion but a true life Champion…

  6. Ga

    According to her statement here, she actually takes the drug for “magnesium deficiency” and “diabetes precaution”. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/maria-sharapova-retirement-announcement-live-press-conference-latest-breaking-news-as-tennis-star-a6917266.html

    I just find the whole situation…odd. Sure, Maria doesn’t read through terms and conditions on websites, but drug testing is serious business, and her livelihood depends on it! Not to mention, she has a manager, Doctor, and others that could check for her!

    Then, the Russian anti-doping agency sent out a memo all the way back in September to all Russian athletes (this substance is mostly available in Eastern Europe, not approved many other places) notifying them that there’s new banned substances. So both Maria, who’s SO professional, and all of her team ignored 2 separate emails pertaining to her career! Seems so unlike them, and just careless. This not only tarnishes her reputation, but stalls her career.

  7. Liz

    I totally agree with Ga!

    It’s all so odd…. And a medicine that’s only approved in Russia and Eastern Europe and not in the rest of the world… I think it just smells weird. There’s something completely wrong with this situation.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s not injured at all at the moment, but has a sort of similar punishment as Nadal (although only speculations though)… A shame for the sport (togetther with all match fixing issues) and a shame for such a great persona on and off court.

  8. Ozzie

    This saddened me so much. 🙁 I actually thought she would retire due to the string of injuries she acquired for the past few years. I did not see this coming to be honest but I still felt she did the right thing, came forward and admitted she committed a “huge mistake”. Not only everyone is waiting on the sanctions that will be imposed on her but she is already bearing the consequences on her mistake, i.e sponsors are distancing themselves from her for now. I just hope ITF makes a decision soon. I can’t wait for her to get back on court soon.

    Is she still eligible to play the Olympics?

  9. sabey

    I agree with Ga and Liz, a women with a net worth that high has a whole team to take care of the details. “I didn’t click on the link” is absurd for someone who has people whose job it is to take care of the details. Also there was a warning sent out last year to all athletes and a separate one to the Russian Federation Athletes before the ban went into effort this year so that means she missed reading three emails. Very fishy.
    The press conference was well done but also probably thought up and orchestrated by a roomful of Lawyers from IMG. Sharapova is a highly managed, produced and packaged Corporate brand. She and her team are not likely to make “mistakes” like this.
    Also please note that this drug was not “legal” and then banned. It was just not on the radar as it’s typically only available in Eastern Europe. Once the authorities figured it out, it was banned. While it was not illegal for her to take it years ago we also know now that she has been taking what is recognized as a PED for ten years. No good all around.

  10. Jade

    Sharapova is a liar and only a fool would believe her. She has been taking this drug for 10 years for endurance, stress and fast recovery. Instead she choose to lie and said “she took it for heart and preventing diabetes” problems. The inventor of the drug said the drugs is to treat sever heart problem with in 8 weeks, and mind you she has been taking it for 10 years. If she had such a bad heart she could not play this sport and such a high level. WHY go to Russia for a drug that is not legal in the USA where she resides. They better ban the cheater for 2 years or life. She didn’t checked 3 email from WADA. They know she was using this drug and they try to warned her but she stilled use it anyway. Her team are looking for another PED from RUSSIA that isn’t ban yet that she can use.

  11. The Real Deal

    I’m not in the least bit surprised by Maria testing positive for this banned, performance enhancing drug, which she’s admitting to taking for 10 years. I’ve looked at her gawky, gaunt, non-muscular frame for years and wondered how in the world can she muster the strength and power that she does. Rumors started awhile back that she had an affiliation with the infamous Balco guy who supplied PEDs to athletes for many years. She may be Russian, but the USA has been her residence for many years now. Hence, why would she be getting a prescription for 10 years that’s only available in Europe? She and her professional, well-paid team knew the benefits of getting performance enhancement via this prescribed drug. They were very shrewd in getting a substance by prescription used for treatment of said-named ailments, of which she doesn’t even have. It could never remain a secret for 10 years in the WTA that Maria actually has diabetes, a heart condition, or any other sickness, never! She was extremely skinny and razor-thin when she beat Serena Williams at Wimbledon at 17 years of age. During that match alone, she won by playing smart tennis, not the use of power and strength. After getting a taste of Serena’s power off her racquet for the first time, Maria and her team knew she indeed had to do something more beyond smart tennis playing to continue winning majors; thus the start of using this drug. Serena has always been a power player, and so has her sister, Venus. Their bodies are beautifully muscular, though Venus has a tall, thin frame. Maria’s press conference was well thought out and orchestrated, and showed great evidence of the complete fraud that she is. I’m willing to bet she won’t get banned, as she absolutely should. Anyone who believes the lie that she and her team have concocted is a plum fool! Moreover, although she took this drug willingly for 10 long years, she still hasn’t been successful in beating Serena Williams. Thanks to this bust, the other players can now rest easy in knowing why she likely keeps beating them. Sharapova should not only be banned for the usual time from the sport, but because she took the drug for 10 years, the championships she’s won during that time should be forfeited and the trophies given back. Wasn’t that part of Marion Jones’ punishment/consequences? Fair is fair… The blonde-haired, blue-eyed “darling of tennis” will likely get a pass, unfortunately.

  12. The Real Deal

    By the way, Ga, Liz, Claire, Sabey and especially Jade, you are very wise and not easily deceived. Gregore Gentil, thanks for the 411 on the drug, which proves just how Maria and other athletes benefit from using it. We’ll see how this all goes. It should have been headline news! I have my opinion as to why it wasn’t and still isn’t.

  13. Jim

    I noticed on the Golf Channel website a couple of months ago, they featured an article about Sharapova taking golfing lessons (and by the way she plays left handed!) (also btw Angelique Kerber who plays tennis left handed actually golfs right handed.) The golfing crowd was going gaga over her..drooling in their lustful comments.
    Well now they have another article about this banned drug Meldonium and Sharapova:

    http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/drug-sharapova-case-not-yet-banned-pga-tour/

    The LPGA has not listed Meldonium as a banned substance, so Masha, keep practicing golf..Maybe you can eventually join the LPGA! They love you over there!
    And thanks to Gregoire, I copied and pasted your research from the article you posted and used it in a comment on the Golf Channel.

  14. CLT

    The thing is that even if she was taking the drug for performance enhancement, it was legal until this year. Therefore she was doing nothing wrong. There is always going to be a grey area and I am sure that most athletes are taking everything they can to legally enhance their performance. So her only crime is failing to take account of this drug now being banned. I agree that is pretty sloppy and unprofessional, but I don’t think she deserves a long ban for it. And hopefully it will be a lesson to her and all the other players to keep up to date with the banned lists.

  15. Jade

    The Real Deal although she took the drugs for endurance and cheated, it was not on WADA Ban list until Jan 1st. So it was legal for her to use it, so she doesn’t have to gave the trophy back. She knew it was ban, but her team didn’t find another replacement PED that was not on the ban list yet.

  16. Jack

    Maria Sharapova is an un-apologetic doper who has been doping for 10 (ten) years.
    She is arrogant,self-centered, selfish and has an air of superiority. She used
    Illegal drugs to gain an advantage over other players. She also screams
    Vociferously after every ball she hits and while serving. These actions
    Severely handicap her opponents and make it impossible for them to hear
    The ball this is done purposely to affect their play.
    I believe that the ITF should impose a four (4) year ban on Maria Sharapova
    Immediately and remove her from ever playing tennis again. She has
    Violated the rules and as a consequence she must suffer & pay for her actions.
    To do otherwise, would demonstrate to all of us tennis fans who love and
    Respect tennis that Maria Sharapova is above the rules and therefore doesn’t
    Have to abide by your rules because she is priviledged…she also is
    Allowed to dope and take banned substances whenever and wherever
    And as long as she chooses.
    If Maria Sharapova is not severely punished, many, many tennis fans
    Including me will boycott her sponsors’ products and stop our support
    Immediately.
    Can you imagine if this was Serena?. Everyone would ask that she
    Is immediately removed from the game of tennis and her many
    Trophies be taken away!!!.
    I am asking that Maria Sharapova be punished by the letter of the ITF law
    and rules and that all of her trophies are stripped from her ASAP!.
    That would be justice.!!!.

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