Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Thoughts on Meldonium and Sharapova

As you've probably seen by now, professional tennis player Maria Sharapova had a positive urine test for Meldonium/Mildronate - a Russian substance used to treat angina and myocardial infarction.

I won't rehash what Meldonium/Mildronate is, how it seems to work in the body, or why it was added to the WADA banned list as this has been done several times very well over the past couple of days.

Maria Sharapova and Meldonium: What ban can the tennis star expect?

Vox.com - Five things to know about meldonium, the drug Maria Sharapova has used for 10 years

Forbes.com - Banned drug Sharapova took was first patented as an animal growth promoter

Forbes.com - Meldonium isn't FDA approved. How could a US doctor have prescribed it to Sharapova?

Vox.com - Maria Sharapova's meldonium doping scandal explained

CNN.com - Kremlin hits back in Maria Sharapova scandal

Sharapova claims she has taken the substance for about the last ten years for medical issues. And I don't care. The substance wasn't explicitly banned by WADA until January 2016. Consumption of the substance was not against the rules. Any substance not banned is fair game for use.

After the January 2016 ban? Sure. She's a knuckleheaded cheater who was found with a banned substance in her urine. No sympathy from me on that one. None at all. She claims neither she nor any of her teammates looked at the newly updated banned substance list. There are reports that she was actually warned five separate times that the substance was to be banned in the upcoming year. Five times! Another knucklehead move. She could have filed for a therapeutic use exemption, but she did not. Sharapova has no one to blame but herself (for using the substance AND getting caught with it in her system after the banned date).

On the other hand, I've said this before - maybe we should allow doping in all professional sports? It is entertainment, right? Push the human body as far as it can go, and if performance enhancing substances expand a person's abilities, then maybe we should. Maybe? Someone recently said, if we were to allow this to occur, then wouldn't all sports become a "nuclear arms race"?

Professional sports already is an arms race. If you don't believe that, well, you're sadly mistaken.

Better living through chemistry as they like to say.

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