All Over For Yulia Efimova? She Faces Lifetime Ban After Positive Meldonium Test

Yuliya Efimova (back) of Russia and Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania
Yuliya Efimova (back) of Russia and Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania in Kazan last summer - Efimova is laughing no more - by Patrick B. Kraemer

It could be all over for Efimova. Yuliya Efimova faces a lifetime ban as a repeat doping offender. The breaststroke world champion is reported to have tested positive for meldonium, the substance catching a wave of elite athletes who are supposedly suffering from serious ill-health.

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Comments

Eugene

Politics…

Craig Lord

cheats always in search of the next thing to get an edge at all costs

aswimfan

Buh Bye Yuliya..

You were such a talented breastroker.. and I was already predicting your greatness back in 2008 at the same young age when Jones and Meilutyte won their Olympics medals. You had that champion quality and beautiful stroke.

You really didn’t have to resort to banned substances to swim fast breaststroke.
But hey… it’s never enough no..?

So, enjoy you retirement (if justice is served), at least you still have those world championships golds that you can display in your home.

ITR

Wait, so you are saying that this substance was just added to the banned list at the beginning of 2016? It’s silly then from both points of view. It’s silly that Yefimova or her staff didn’t notice this change and it’s silly that they are banning athletes for something that wasn’t forbidden for decades and now it became considered as doping somehow…

aswimfan

Follow-up questions must be addressed to Dave Salo to answer.

As an example, Michael Bohl was not willing to coach Park Tae Hwan after his positive test and publicly announced so, and SAL banned doped swimmers from using podium centers facilities and SAL-funded coaches, and Denis Coterel is officially not coaching Sun Yang.

But why is Dave Salo willing to repeatedly continue to coach several swimmers who have tested positive and who have been suspended even though his public policy has always been total aversion to even supplements?

Something is amiss here.

aswimfan

ITR,

WADA has put meldonium on the monitored list since 1 January 2015 and has published the list in late 2014.
Every elite, professional athletes should have known this as they received notification.

aswimfan

ITR,

So, every athletes who had been using meldonium had one whole year to gradually stop using meldonium and seek other alternatives or TIU if their life truly depended on it.

No sympathy or excuse whatsoever for those caught in 2016 still using it.

aswimfan

I am not holding my breath, but I am wondering what news will come up about Vladimir Morozov who has been extremely quiet this year.

ITR

Thanks Craig, that clears it up a little. What does this drug do by the way? how can it help performance?

aswimfan

I am also not enthusiastically waiting to hear what kind of creative, fantastical story that Efimova will try to offer as an excuse this time around.

Obviously she can’t recycle local GNC store fantasy as meldonium is not approved for sale in USA nor she can use the diabetic angle (Sharapova was smart in making her case public so she could use the “best” excuse), and nor she can use the chronic heart disease (Sun Yang owned that one and even willing to miss world championships final so the Chinese officials could use it as proof).

ITR

aswimfan,

Sorry, for some reason I thought I saw Craig posting the comment about when it was added to the monitored list but now doublechecking I see it was you. 🙂

I’m still wondering what meldonium does because 99 positive cases so far means many athletes have been using it.

aswimfan

ITR,

This is a good start on meldonium:
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/mar/09/maria-sharapova-meldonium-banned-drug-wada

It’s written by Professor Ross Tucker who is an exercise physiologist and high performance sports science consultant

Eugene

I just wonder, guys… If they prohibit polyvitamin supplements tomorrow, will you still support that and put those who use it to shame?

This drug was legal for decades, as ITR already noticed, which means nearly all post-soviet athletes used it. Is great Alex Popov a drug cheat then? And if Mildronate was really effective the rest of the competetive world should have had something similar for their athletes. Do they?

I’m not a Russia fan. Moreover, I hate Russia for their agression towards my country. But also hate when politics is mixed with sport. This Meldonium histeria totally looks like a witch hunt and removing some certain rivals from the sports arena. Disgusting.

aswimfan

Eugene,

What you proposed above is “if”, “if” and “if” none of which is based on reality.

reality:
The athletes caught positive for meldonium were NOT caught (and potentially punished) for offences before 2016. You are claiming as if they are going to be punished for any doping offense pre-2016.

Many currently banned substances were legal for many years before being banned.
Why does it make any difference with meldonium?
Cheaters are ALWAYS ahead of doping control and that’s a fact. For sure there are currently athletes on something so advanced that doping control has not yet able to test them.

But none of these negates the fact that efimova and others tested POSITIVE for banned substances.
And before you bring your west vs. russia paranoid, there are many non russians europeans as well as other nationalities on the positive test list too.

aswimfan

Eugene,

You know I’m fair when it comes to doping offense. I even defended Ye Shiwen tooth and nail because she just has not tested positve.

but facts are facts: Efimova tested positive for banned substances. TWICE.
and second after serving a two years suspension (sort of).

Ger

She got her license back and promptly crashed her car. The only credible action is a lifetime ban. As suggested, it will be interesting to hear what Dave Salo has to say, and by extension, will this concern USA swimming?

Bad Anon

Marion Jones for example never “failed” drugs test at the Sydney Olympic games and yet she was subsequently stripped of her titles in view of the overwhelming evidence made available. I think under cover journalism can play a big role in exposing sophisticated doping syndicates that make a mockery of clean sports

stabilo

99 positive tests already. Clearly widely-used, which must be for the perceived performance enhancing effects, rather than a medical condition.

Is there a moral question as to whether you should use a ‘performance-enhancer’, regardless of whether it is technically banned? I mean to say, presumably it was well-known that meldonium aids performance – should people have refused to use it on principle? Or is it all fair game, just so long as it’s not on the banned list? [What about vitamin supplements? Ice baths? Lucozade?]

I am not in any way defending those caught, and as ASF points out, there is no excuse since the list is available and publicised.

aswimfan

Stabilo,

I think your question is a philosophical one, which may be impossible to answer, and everyone will have different opinions.

stabilo

What is your opinion? 🙂

I think you can make a case against any reason for banning any kind of PED. If it’s because of side-effects, what about a hypothetical PED that had none? Availability – what about high-tech training facilities and O2 tents that most don’t have? Potential abuse of youngsters – I always felt like 10x400IM at 13 was quite abusive anyway ;). That is facetious but you see the idea.

Not sure where you would draw the line. I guess the easiest is just to use the banned list, and if people were taking it before then, that’s ok. But I personally would be very uncomfortable with that view if someone was taking, for example, a technically not-banned steroid, especially if they were convinced it would at some later point become banned.

Easier question to answer – when retrospective testing is done (like the 2008, 2012 samples that a different post was on), do they test just for stuff banned at the time? Or everything they now can? And, subjective, would that affect your opinion (if say 2008 athlete tested positive for Meldonium).

aswimfan

Stabilo,

I personally would draw the line on the substances which cause long-term serious health problem if used not according what’s intended for.

I am not an expert but I don’t think things like natural or simulated high-elevation living and training, vitamins, ice bath recovery are harmful for one’s health.

aswimfan

Your “easier” question is actually a very good question. I also would like to know about the details of such retroactive testing.

Eugene

aswimfan,
I got your point and I can agree a lot, of course. I just don’t believe in those guys who decide what is legal and what is not. Why ban Mildronate? Does it have any strong negative side effects like anabolic steroids do? You may not know but one of the indications for its use (which is clearly said in the instruction) is PHYSICAL OVERSTRAIN in athletes and hard working people. So what’s the point in this prohibition? And what’s next? Vitamins, protein powder, creatine, balanced diet, sleeping a lot, breathing trainers? All this stuff also enhances performance and some are much stronger than Mildronate. Why is all this still allowed?

ThereaLuigi

I say good riddance!

As for Stabilo’s last question: I expect they will test only for drugs banned at the time. Since the entire system is based on a public list of banned substances, i.e. on knowledge (actual or at least possible and hence assumed), you can’t have retroactivity.

stabilo

I would broadly agree with ASF about side- effects, which for meldonium apparently is a bit of an unknown; but I would also be uncomfortable with people taking a hypothetical PED that had no side-effects.

Eugene/ASF – The WADA website says, “The WADA Prohibited List endeavours to capture as many known substances and methods that satisfy any two of the following three criteria:
– Potential to enhance or enhances sports performance
– An actual or potential health risk to the athlete
– Use violates the spirit of sport (outlined in the Code)”

You can find the Code online. But it would seem that vitamins, breathing trainers, ice baths etc may well tick box one, don’t tick box two. So the remaining thing is about ‘fair play’ and the ‘spirit of sport’. That seems quite a wooly thing to define!

Yozhik

Stabilo, there is no such thing like global moral unchangeable princples. Tell me what your moral is and the answers on your question can be easily found. On the way of preparation to beat opponents in sport competition (is it moral BTW to beat somebody making him/her suffer?) athletes go under special training. Not everybody are equal in this regard. Is it moral to get advantage because one lives in area with good sport facilities or have good money to receive first class coaching and medical assistence.
Athlete’s diet is a significant part of the process of making body to perform better. Two years ago I will not see the difference between banana and meldonium in this regard. Both these product were eaten not to save me from starvation but exclusively for the purpose to improve some my physical abilities. It doesn’t matter in this situation if it is God given fruit or man-made product. I consciously eat them to be better in sport competition. Is it moral to have a special diet?
Now, there is some reasoning accepted by sport community that some substances should be excluded from athletes’ diet. Your question actually is that if one can assume that following above reasoning a new drug will be banned someday in the future would it be moral to consume it today. Well, it again depends on what your moral is. I’m not kidding. Half of my life I lived in the society which moral said: everything that is not permitted is prohibited. Now I’m living in society which moral says: everything that is not prohibited is permitted. Which moral should I use to answer your question?
On the other hand if the law says that it is illegal to still money from one’s right pocket, then I would personally consider that the stilling from the right pocket is immoral act despite it is not prohibited explicitly by the law.

Yozhik

*instilling from the one’s LEFT packet is immoral

ThereaLuigi

Just because moral is subjective, the only thing to do in the end is to have shared, written, clearly understandable rules on what constitutes doping.
Meldonium as of January 1 2016 constitutes doping.
She knew it and kept taking it.
Conscious choice, now face the consequences.
Of course there will never be equality and justice. Some people have access to better facilities, diet, coaches. But that’s life, what are you going to do.

aswimfan

The thing is, if the Russians feel that they are targeted, then why did none of their sports authority or athletes or whomever their officials are challenged WADA when WADA decided to put meldonium on the monitored list in late 2014 and officially made it ban-able last year with effective date of 1 January 2016.

So this whole thing about politically targeting the Russians just don’t wash for me at all.

aswimfan

Why are these athletes and their fans crying injustice when everyone already knew one year in advance that meldonium will be banned?

Logic and evidence say that all these excuses and crying that meldonium is not PED is just one big BS. They all already KNEW one year ago!!

Craig Lord

Indeed, aswimfan. They’re wriggling on the end of the hook they’ve hung themselves on.

Yozhik

🙂 I know some man who is a good person, but is very accurate with money (cheap, in other words 🙂 ). Once he got very sick and had to buy very expensive drug. When he got better he continued to take this drug despite there was no any more need for that. He just couldn’t through remaining expensive pills in garbage can. Maybe Sharapova like my friend simply couldn’t stop. It looks so stupid of her. As many said here the reward of using meldonium (if any at all) definitely didn’t worth the risk of losing so much. Maybe this drug is very addictive. Or maybe we have blame on the inertia of cheating – once one starts doing that he/she will never quit. Human mind is still a big secret. 🙂

Eugene

>”substances and methods that satisfy any two of the following three criteria:
– Potential to enhance or enhances sports performance
– An actual or potential health risk to the athlete
– Use violates the spirit of sport (outlined in the Code)”

#3 is just great 🙂 Everything can be banned then.

Craig Lord

Only in your mind, Eugene. This is much more simple that you suggest. Your talk of vitamins etc is a load of hogwash. There is clear evidence that this swimmer set out to find a prop – and she turned to banned substances that enhance performance artificially, twice. Meldonium did not make the list for nothing. ASF has provided links to good knowledge on the subject from experts that clearly show how that substance is being abused by athletes. You’re looking for excuses for cheats on the basis that the world is not perfectly fair but your like-for-like comparisons don’t work.

Yozhik

Asf, it is very easy to take procecution position and play the fighter for the purity of moral principles. You have all rights to judge for violation of the rules accepted by international community. But it will be wise to stop at this point. If I can advise, don’t go further with generalizations, detalizations, whatever. I’m sure that you know little about, culture, history, traditions, current circumstances of life at this huge territory.
If you read the Russian article that first made this news worldwide available, you won’t find any blames and finger pointing. Just regret that a big misfortune has happened to another outstanding Russian athlete. That is how it’s taken – misfortune without of any analyses of its origin. Some concern was expressed that sport authorities in Russia have to do their job better by informing in time leading athletes who are training/ living abroad about changes in WADA codes. It may sound like BS to you, but it is not. That is how people live there.

ITR

I like how we “argue” all the time about equality in our sport (what I’m about to say applies to any other sports basically) but what I always see is that it will never be equal either with banned substances or without.
Suppose nobody uses illegal drugs but then somebody can afford to go to high altitude training camps for a month multiple times a year, ice baths, the best medical background, the best legal substances, the best suits for racing or compression suits for recovery, etc. while others have to use one suit a year, eat grandma’s homemade jam after practice, or take a 10 eur/month Centrum Multivitamin as a supplement 🙂 Vicious, never ending cycle this is.

Dan smith

Craig I think Eugene has a point. I think effimova should be banned though. But eugene,s point that that “everything” can be banned is right but I will say that that statement is semiaccurate. I will say that “anything” can be banned. There are so many things “substances” that are performance enhancing, both natural and artificial. And some vitamins are performance enhancing and can help with recovery. The manufacturers of meldonium say that their product helps with recovery but deny that it boost’s performance and some scientists don’t buy the idea that it boost’s performance.

Anything can be banned. I know some people don’t believe this but that is the reality. I heard that WADA is looking into caffeine for it,s potential performance boosting properties and it,s not out of the realm of possibility that caffeine could be banned. It not impossible.

Also in the NBA, any basketball player that test negative for marijuana is fined and banned for some games. The reason is that some scientists believe marijuana is performance enhancing while other scientists don’t buy it but the NBA takes the side of the scientists who believe marijuana is a performance enhancer. So this means that if someone like Michael Phelps was a basketball star,he would have been a doping offender as he has used marijuana in the past. So in basketball he may already have had a positive marijuana test.

There are also substances in some fruits which can help with recovery and may boost performance (according to certain scientist,s). Banana seems to be used by a lot of athletes for recovery. It,s widespread. The thing is pretty much anything used by athletes now can be banned later and as I said earlier one such candidate could be caffeine. And scientists don’t seem to agree on what is performance enhancing and what is not as is with the case of marijuana.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

About the Russian thing, I was responding to Eugene who wrote:

I’m not a Russia fan. Moreover, I hate Russia for their agression towards my country. But also hate when politics is mixed with sport. This Meldonium histeria totally looks like a witch hunt and removing some certain rivals from the sports arena. Disgusting.

Dan smith

I meant tests positive for marijuana not negative. And sharapova has been beaten consistently by Serena Williams over the past 10 years despite using the ” performance enhancer ” meldonium. Maybe Serena Williams is just superwoman. I mean Serena Williams has completely dominated sharapova in the past 10 years.

Yozhik

But if you survive after all this mishaps and didn’t get chronic diarrhea after eating so much grandmother’s jam that of course was contaminate by pesticides and win the competition you will be treated as the best athlete ever. I think it worth suffering 🙂
I don’t have exact statistics but I have some feeling that most famous athletes didn’t have privileged conditions at the beginning of their career.

Craig Lord

I think Eugene’s point weak and full of holes, Dan. Such an approach won’t take the fight to where it needs to be. Eugene has expressed before his view that the solution is to let it all be and let anything go. There are so many reasons why that is wrong and damaging that I’m not even going to start to list them (I have done so on many occasions before, including the fact that swimming is dominated by under-age athletes/minors … and abuse has been legion). Bananas and steroids (Efimova’s first positive) don’t equate, not even close.

stabilo

Craig, I think that is harsh – it is a sensible point. If you look at the WADA criteria, one can easily argue that Oxygen tents should be banned – they fall foul of 1 (“can/do they boost performance”) and 3 (“is it fair/spirit of the sport”) – the latter because most people cannot have access to such things. No-one really is saying they should be banned, or equating it to steroids, but the logic is the same.

Of course, the examples of abuse you allude to, and the 2nd point of WADA (and aswimfan’s point) about harm is very important. And there is no excuse to test positive now, once everyone has known meldonium was going to be added to the list. AND, like asf says, if you wanted to argue about it being included at all, there was ample time for that. So I have no sympathy with Efimova. But I do think it’s more complex than you suggest.

ThereaLuigi

Again, since everything can be argued of anything, the only way to go is to make clear rules that apply to everyone, with clear penalties too (the latter point is not yet achieved, not remotely).

I have read an article about Putin putting the blame on the coaches and the federations that did not warn athletes. But if he was referring to Efimova, come on … she trains in California, in al elite environment, not in some remote siberian pool … by the way was she found out while she was in the US? Because Meldonium cant be sold in the US …

Eugene

Excuse me, Craig, but “a load of hogwash” is those Guardian articles. I don’t see there any logical justification of the fact that Mildronate is doping while lots of other substances are not. No one can tell why it breaks “the spirit of sport” and no one has any proven statistics of negative side effects. You say that this drug is officially intended for seriously ill people. Well, here’s the official instruction. I highlighted and translated with Google the part which says – not only: http://i.imgur.com/jxnsFa9.png

Anyway, anything that helps to recover or protects your health also boosts your performance. Let’s take ascorbic acid – the lack of it causes the disease called scurvy. Does this mean that vitamin C supplements must be used only by those who suffer from it?

Craig Lord

stabilo, oxygen tents and such things, yes, there are arguments that need to be looked at – and they were not what I was referring to. Bananas, vitamins and steroids just don’t work for me – any argument about things that do need looking at are blown away by such silliness. That’s what I meant – and that’s what I stick to. Those are not serious arguments, in my view. And by simple I meant: banned list – is this substance on there? Yes? So, don’t go there. This swimmers went there twice it would seem. She should leave the pool.

Yozhik

Dan Smith, I think the only clear point here was made by Luigi.
Eugene has no point. He does express regularly some compassion to those who messed with doping but maybe he has some reason for such feelings. If he is indeed Ukrainian and lived on the territory of former Soviet Union then I can guess where it comes from. As I tried to explain to Asf there is a cultural historic tradition to fill some sympathy to those who just get back from prison. For many people life outside prison was not much easier.

Yozhik

@aswimfan: during my stay in Amsterdam I was warn to not use for commuting nice bike because it will be stolen. But if you are a good biker and hate to ride garbage, then paint your nice bike to look old, dirty and rusty. If anyway it gets stolen but you love it very much then don’t worry, you can buy it back next morning on the street. Just don’t ask questions. I’ve fallen in love with this city, just was keeping my moral disagreements on leash. That is how life was there.
I don’t want you to get offended with my references to Russian specifics. Just don’t go deep with your moral unless there is strong necessity for doing that.

Craig Lord

I find plenty in the material out there on Meldonium to see why it is being taken by people who do not need it for medical reasons, Eugene. You’re right, in my view, to point out that the system is far from perfect but I’m not interested in debating your angle: meaning, because there are issues on the subject of what constitutes performance enhancement, we just let it all go or ban vitamins. I repeat, those are not serious arguments.

Craig Lord

Just so, Luigi.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

I did not intend whatsoever to paint Russians in certain way or to put them in bad light. I was just responding to Eugene, and I guess subconsciously was also responding to many chatters on the internet where those who have sympathy towards the Russians claim that it’s just all ploy to get rid of all Russian athletes from Rio.

As for your anecdote about living in Amsterdam, I too have lived there and I can attest what you said about bicycles is true. If you live just outside Amsterdam and want to go clubbing/bar-hopping in Amsterdam, It is cheaper -and safer- to take the train, go clubbing, and on your way home from train station, you can just buy one of those “used” bycycles (aka stolen bikes) that you may or may not want to keep.

I have indeed got my bike stolen. And when I was there, a bike thief was arrested by th epolice and he made confession that he had stolen 20,000 bikes!!

aswimfan

By the way,

I don’t think my comment that you referred to contains any generalization about Russians at all.

clive rushton

Read this, published by the BMJ last week:

http://blogs.bmj.com/bjsm/2016/03/08/meldonium-use-by-athletes-at-the-baku-2015-european-games-adding-data-to-ms-maria-sharapovas-failed-drug-test-case/

“Results: Meldonium was declared as imported into Azerbaijan by 2 of 50 National Olympic Committee medical teams at the Games, but athletes from 6 countries declared the use of meldonium. Only 23 of the 662 (3.5%) athletes tested between 8 – 28 June 2015 declared the personal use of meldonium, which included 13 competition winners. However, 66 of the total 762 (8.7%) of athlete urine samples analysed during the Games and during pre-competition tested positive for meldonium. Meldonium use was detected in athletes competing in 15 of the 21 sports during the Games.”

Craig Lord

Thanks v much for that link Clive (as I’ve said, they can’t all be ill or need this stuff for medical reasons – they’re using it to enhance performance, it seems to me)

Dan smith

Clive rushton, great info. Meldonium use was detected in athletes competing in 15 of 21 sports at the Baku (2015) games. Meldonium was legal in (2015) so not surprising. But meldonium is believed by some scientist to be used for recovery rather than performance enhancement. Creatinine is a “natural” substance which when taken as a “supplement” can boost muscle mass and hence performance. Creatinine is believed by some to be more of a performance enhancer than meldonium yet creatinine is legal. Even caffeine is believe to be more powerful than meldonium. Caffeine is legal.
The conundrum for the athletes continues.

Craig Lord

Dan, recovery was a big part of what Oral Turinabol did for the GDR. It is absolutely performance enhancing if you can manage a far bigger workload han your rivals because you’re able to recover better and need to pay less attention to what your human nature is telling you. Caffeine – hard to say ‘more powerful’ – different effect, and in the case of caffeine can be detrimental to performance in particular sports and types of events within those sports (and caffeine was on the list at some stage, of course…). Beyond that, with respect, unless you’re a pharmacological expert, we can’t really take your word for it. No offence meant but meldonium and other substances are not on the banned list for nothing – and that, presumably, is why we see it being used by a large number of athletes for no medical reason at all. And beyond that, here is a swimmer who has defaulted twice on substances clearly stated as being banned for use by athletes, the first because she ‘didn’t read the label’, no idea as yet what her excuse will be this time. She should leave the pool.

Personal Best

On one hand, it doesn’t matter why the drug was banned. It’s banned – athletes know to stay away from banned substances.

However, comparing this drug to something like caffeine is almost a little unfair. As far as I can tell, this is not a naturally occurring substance. It was created in a lab. Caffeine is naturally occurring in many foods. Not to say it can’t be abused, but it’s prevalent in many people’s diets.

The fact that this is a synthetic (?) drug may have contributed to its ban.

Also, there is no even playing field here, because this drug cannot be sold in the US, or presumably in many other countries. Clearly the FDA, and others, feel that it is not ‘safe’ to sell or use widely.
Is there an equivalent drug that is available in the US which is not banned for athletes? If so, then it becomes an issue of fairness.

You also had 12 months for countries/federations to actively argue the ban, however most noise came about when high profile athletes started to test positive.

This may raise a question; how long after ingestion/injection does this drug remain in the system and be detectable? 1 week? 1 month?
Does it matter?
If you knew this drug was going to be banned on January 1, you wouldn’t take it on Dec 31, would you? Why take the risk?

Personal Best

About ‘fairness’ in sport – elite sport is not about equalising athletes, as much as it is about equalising athletes.

Equalising athletes in terms of comparing them at their ‘natural’ levels – skills, talent, physiology; what the athletes were born with and what they worked hard to achieve.
Sure, some have access to altitude – some to oxygen tanks, some to better vitamins.

Some also have access to great weather, outdoor pools, lane space to train etc. That can’t be equalised, and nor should it. Unfortunately for some, but this is why there is a flag next to the name of the swimmer – it’s comparing their skills with the ‘strength’ of their federation. Some have it easier.

Sport is not about equalising athletes in terms of allowing someone to artificially boost performance to make them as gifted as their competitor with the naturally superior physiology. What’s the point of the sport if all is equal? Who wins? No body.

ThereaLuigi

I have a question for those who are getting philosophical about this. Why didn’t all these athletes stop taking meldonium even after its ban? My answer is , they knew their performance would drop so much that they deemed the CERTAINTY of such a drop to outweigh the RISK of being caught. Would they stop eating bananas or drinking coffee if those were banned? You can bet they would, in a New York minute.

Felix Sanchez

Dan Smith,

Recovery is the principle use of peds in general. Athletes on steroids in particular can train much much more than those without because their muscles rebuild so much faster.

Recovery is obviously very important for athletes like tennis players during competitions – so good use for meldonium. And in recent years we’ve seen several swimmers showing in season recovery ability that doesn’t fit in with our previous understanding of sports science.

Yozhik

Until you define what professional sport is all about whatever you say above Personal Best doesn’t prove much to me. The starting point, the common base if you wish is needed to make this dispute about equality meaningful.
If you take Exchange for example, then all its business is built on fundamental notion of fair competition. Whatever licence of trading and investment related to this business one wants to obtain the first exam he has to pass is Ethics.
So what is the fair professional sport in swimming?
P.S. I am not talking about general usefulness of physical exercises and amateur competitions that promote physical and mental health. I’m talking about business that we call professional sport.

Yozhik

The interesting question is how should we treat world, Olympic and other records if they were achieved with the help of PEDs that were legal at that time. I’m not suggesting to take medals back. They were won by fair competition. But record books has to be reviewed if swimming at record time was assisted. Professional swimmer gets substantial award for breaking world record. By keeping artificially achieved records we deprive swimmers of earnings.

DDias

Craig, an interesting ‘the other side of the fence’ article(I know you can read Portuguese well):
http://espnw.espn.uol.com.br/quebrando-tabu-doping/

Craig Lord

🙂 ThereaLuigi – quite so.

Craig Lord

Sim, DDias, interesante, uma outra perspectiva – mas a pergunta no fim e boa: “Já pensou viver com isso?” ‘Think about living with that”. Quite so, if a genuine mistake; there are cases that call for our understanding (I have little sympathy for any system that takes a 13-year-old who has been given a sinus spray by mum and gets banned from the pool because Howard Jacobs is beyond their budget). For the most part in doping, there are few genuine mistakes – and in terms of big names and big nations, mistakes have been treated leniently (even the ones that weren’t mistakes are often treated leniently, but not if you’re from Thailand, Peru, etc…then you get the full stick).
“Já pensou viver com isso?” – I think that a question that Efimova is asking herself now – but why, oh why, one has to ask, would you not notice that you’re taking a substance now banned, one that, we assume, Dave Salo knew nothing about, thus duping your coach and the man who let you train on during a ban for steroids (I’m assuming that to be true because Dave Salo never answered my email on the subject; very happy to hear from him if that assumption is wrong…) for a second time. I wonder what Sergey Ilyin knew about what Efimova was taking?
“Já pensou viver com isso?” – – of course, that’s a question that Shirley Babashoff and many others down the years have long asked themselves, with no sympathy, no support, no action from FINA, IOC, their federations and many others, despite the overwhelming evidence and criminal convictions that told those parties everything they needed to know about the need to clear out the closet.

BoetMate

To answer TL’s question, the reason why all these athletes have tested positive for using Meldonium is simply that no-one yet is taking the doping issue fully seriously and reading and reacting all the WADA or country advises.

BTW, I typed Meldonium and Mildrate into the ASADA “check your substances” website a week ago and it did not come up, so clearly not even the Aussie authority had updated their primary athlete self checking mechanism.

I emailed them and they have now updated it per their response to my email.

The reason why many of the positives will be Russian athletes is 1. The drug was manufactured there, 2. It does enhance performance and and 3. That is something I have raised before. Russia is 119 out of 167 countries with North Korea in position 167 (you get the picture on the corruption index published by Transparency International:

http://www.transparency.org/whoweare/organisation/our_chapters/0/

Unfortunately corruption and cheating is hard wired into the fabric of Russian society. Not that I am saying athletes using Meldonium before 1 Jan 2016 were cheating but the culture of doping and seeking chemical performance enhancement is part of “normal” practice in Russia.

Thanks Clive for the link to the European Games. Why did only 23 athletes declare Meldonuim when 66 had been taking it per the positive tests?

It costs the athletes nothing to declare at the time of a doping test and athletes are encouraged by the testers to declare all medications, supplements, vitamins for their own protection. Clearly for the majority of users, Meldonium use was something they did not want to disclose……….

Yozhik

@ThereaLuigi. You arguments may well explain Sharapova’s case. She had Australian Open to play. But what was Yefimova risking for at the beginning of the season? Unless this drug has to be taken continiously to have maximum effect. Or she may had problems to keep up with heavy training load designed by her coach. In later case the coach should’ve known about the issue and the solution undertaken by his swimmer.

pegasus523

The WADC at its simplest level says that an athlete is responsible for what is in their body and must know what should not be there. If you make your living as a professional athlete (any sport) you ultimately bear the responsibility for your career.

“It shouldn’t be on the list” and “other stuff should also be banned” are not very strong defenses. The stars do make mistakes and they have to be held responsible. There is no other way to protect the field.

Dan smith

Pegasus I do however think that creatinine and caffiene should be banned based on WADA,s definition of what a performance enhancer is. Remember, the NBA defines marijuana as a performance enhancer.

Creatinine is “natural” but is more of a performance enhancer than meldonium according to some scientists. You have to bear in mind that scientists don’t agree with each other on this.

Then there,s marijuana which is a doping agent according to the NBA. I,m not sure it enhances performance but the NBA does.

caffeine is a natural substance used by millions of people and it has positive and negative effects. I mean millions of people drink coffee.
Pegasus you say athletes should be held accountable for what they put in their bodies and I agree. This means that millions of people should also be held accountable of both the positive and negative effects of the coffee the drink. Hence they should be held accountable for the positive and negative effects of the caffeine in their bodies.

Also caffeine has been documented as a performance enhancer. Scientists generally agree on this but they don’t agree on whether meldonium actually boost’s performance.

pegasus523

From the Code … “ARTICLE 2 ANTI-DOPING RULE VIOLATIONS
Persons shall be responsible for knowing what
constitutes an anti-doping rule violation and the substances and methods which have been included on the Prohibited list.”

Further … “it is each athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his or her body. Athletes are responsible for any Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers found to be present in their Samples.”

Caffeine is included in the 2016 Monitoring Program, and is not considered Prohibited Substance.

Is creatine on the list?

Some substances are prohibited because they are illegal or considered dangerous to an athletes health, not because they are specifically performance enhancing. Heroin, morphine and oxycodone for example, are prohibited. None of those are likely considered performance enhancing.

Meldonium was in the 2015 Monitoring Program “in order to detect patterns of misuse in sport”. Apparently there was a pattern of misuse.

The Code is complex but starts with a simple starting point: personal responsibility.

Bad Anon

Of all swimming related doping incidents in the recent past, this one takes the cake. Taking any MEDICINE with the purpose of enhancing performance is cheating. Eating healthy, rest and quality training and recovery are the key ingridients to Olympic success. Efimova must now face the music and she deserves what’s coming to her…..

Craig Lord

Indeed, pegasus. That is among the points I call ‘simple’; and I really feel thats the case and why the vast majority of swimmers don’t go down to doping: they and those who support them know what’s on the list and avoid such things at all costs, a great deal of effort and eduction going into it all by programs around the world.

Craig Lord

Dan, there is absolutely no legal evidence to say that Michael Phelps used what you say he did (indeed, he denied doing any such thing and never faced prosecution for any such offence). I have removed that part of your comment: it breaks defamation law. And when I drink my coffee this morning and take a steroid for my asthma and a painkiller for my 39C fever (I have ‘flu) I will not be rushing off to race the best swimmers in the world straight after (they’d beat me anyway 🙂 You can’t compare we the great unwashed and the world of elite sport, in my view.

On Phelps, to remind all, regardless of what anyone may think about it: the facts from a contemporary report of the police decision:

A South Carolina sheriff decided Monday after a highly publicized investigation that he simply didn’t have enough physical evidence to charge the 14-time gold medalist.

“We had a photo and we had him saying he was sorry for his inappropriate behavior. That behavior could’ve been going to a party,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.

“He never said, ‘I smoked marijuana.’ He never confessed that,” the sheriff said.

easyspeed

Marijuana is not a performance enhancer; it’s a performance inhibitor. Regardless of what the NBA says.

Craig Lord

quite, easyspeed. It was included on banned substances lists as a masking agent for performance-enhancers.

Dan smith

Craig I know about the defamation laws. I was talking about what the NBA would have interpreted as a positive test in regards to Phelps.
Also in the past you have said that you think ye shiwens was assisted. I don’t know if that fits defamation. Defamation laws are quite difficult to interpret. I didn’t mean any defamation. I,m a Phelps fan actually. regards.

Dan smith

And I dont think you were defaming or accusing ye shiwens of anything. I just think you were trying to state an opinion.
Also if you read swimswam there are some fans who are suspicious about Santo condorelli because he trained in Russia for some time and dropped a lot of time quite quickly. Some are suspicious of Vlad morozov too. I don’t know what to make of those. I don’t think people should be making accusations. Let a positive test be the decider. At least a positive test of something that is illegal. I repeat I,m a Phelps fan.

Craig Lord

No problem Dan: it was your wording that was troublesome in law – the words stated he used … which he denied and was never charged with.

Craig Lord

Dan, I can’t be and am not responsible for swim swam and a whole wave of stuff in comments that I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole because it does not meet the journalistic-legal standards we adhere to – and must adhere to – in global laws that do not allow us to lean on constitutional let-out clauses that exist in the USA.
As to a positive test being the only criteria, I don’t agree with those who say ‘nothing beyond the point where a positive test kicks in’: there is a level of reasonable comment that is permissible in law and perfectly acceptable, extending to pointing out obvious aberration in performance and off-the-chart moments that come without any obvious explanation other than that provided by widely held suspicions. That is justifiable in law as long as you know that law and chose your words carefully. Such things have been incredibly important in the fight against doping (and much other bad stuff) down the years.
Armstrong, Jones, Smith de Bruin and lots of other cases similar to that of seasons of questions and suspicions – all denied, denied, denied – until either a confession or a falling foul of anti-doping rules in one way or another.

stabilo

Dan – I have read those comments (about Morozov and Condorelli) on The Other Site too, but there are also people saying, especially for Condorelli, that the insinuations made aren’t supported by the evidence – ie that he actually dropped his times a lot before going to Russia etc.

Your point about creatine and caffeine follows the same logic as the rest (from bananas to steroids!) but for WADA to ban such things, they need to tick 2 of the 3 boxes (performance enhancing; possibly dangerous; against the spirit of the sport). I can’t see a convincing case for either of the 2 last points.

Dan smith

stabilo I agree with you but I hear WADA is looking into caffeine as a performance enhancer. As for creatinine, it,s not in the list (at least for now).

I,m not sure if caffeine is dangerous. I know pretty much everything is dangerous in high doses. But caffiene can be taken moderately. But since WADA is looking into caffeine as a performance enhancer, I don’t think it,s impossible that it can be banned. It,s always a possibility.

Craig Lord

Dan, it is possible. It was on the banned list some years back (accounts for one of the only two official positive tests ever registered for GDR swimmers – and that in post GDR days).
Sylvia Gerasch tested positive for caffeine at the Euro sprint champs in gateshead, a meet that had coffee machines on the pool deck !

stabilo

Dan – yes I heard the same. I guess we also need to remember that when something is on a banned list, it doesn’t mean simply that the substance is banned outright, but banned at a certain level/dose. That would seem to be even more an important consideration for any ‘normal’ PEDs like caffeine (creatine?).
What about alcohol? Sometimes I feel like a shot or two before a 400IM might help to dull the pain! (Facetious Friday)

beachmouse

One note on meldonium in the USA- it is extremely expensive to get FDA approvals for a new drug. If a company is not one of those really big pharma corporations, they need to do a cost-benefit analysis to see if the possible profits outweigh the costs of approval, and I suspect in the case of meldonium, it’s more of a case of the numbers not working when they compared possible profits to the expense of approval and then building a distribution network in a highly competitive medication market rather than the drug itself not having enough merit to get FDA approval.

I believe the drug’s makers when they say that it saves lives in Europe. (But also feel like they were glad to go along with increased sales for off-label use if it meant more money going back into the company for further research.)

Craig Lord

beachmouse, thanks for that note. On your last point, I’m sure many of these substances save lives – a good thing where a life needs saving. Did the lives of these 100 or so we know of so far and the many more showing up in the WADA research need saving with meldonium? I doubt it.

pegasus523

Caffeine has been on the Monitoring list for a number of years. It was, as Craig notes, once on the Prohibited List. Then the threshold for an adverse finding was roughly doubled, then it went off the list. Monitoring is an alert but not necessarily a dire warning. Our daily espresso is likely safe.

And … alcohol is prohibited in competition in sports with a danger factor (archery, e.g.) but not swimming. But still not a good pre-400 IM pre-race ritual! 😉

Craig Lord

🙂 🙂 Pegasus; no alcohol (nor other potion nor lotion) could get me through a 400IM these days. I look back fondly at a time when I travelled at about the speed of Petra Schneider 🙂

Yozhik

Let’s wait for a few months for the period after trials to see if statistically proven drop in performance can be detected in areas where distribution of meldonium is legal. Same way as it happened after era of tech suits. Before this happens any disputes of usefulness, effectiveness, unfairness, harmnesness etc of meldonium are not having a common ground and are premature, I think. The usage of meldonium is widely spread and has been going for decades. WADA finally believes that there is a strong indication that meldonium improves performance in average. So far nobody mentioned any references to reliable scientific studies about usage of meldonium by healthy athletes. The performance improvement can be attributed to many other things. Moreover there are proven observations that in some cases drugs being helpful for sick people has no effect when is used by healthy athletes. If the drop in performance coincides with ban on meldonium then it will make everybody in agreement on meldonium’s role.

Yozhik

What the most puzzling in this meldonium story is the time that took WADA to realize that it is an unfair performance enhancer. WADA’s decisions affects business markets: pharmaceutical , investment, trading etc. WADA’s decisions can have political consequences if banned products were not spread geographically evenly but were used mostly in areas with distinctive geographical boundaries. Timing of WADA’s decision is also important.
For conspiracy theories lovers it is hard to find better source to feed their imaginations.

Ger

Here’s a report from NBC which includes comments from Dave Salo: http://olympics.nbcsports.com/2016/03/17/yulia-efimova-meldonium-drug-test-swimming-olympics-russia/

Meldonium has a half life of 5 hours; it doesn’t hang around in the system too long. So she might have stopped taking it in December but is seems she started again in January.

Yozhik

When former coach of Yulia Yefimova Irina Vyatchanina tried to say something in her defense she’s actually drawn very interesting portrait of her swimmer.
“I just cannot imagine how they could allow an athlete of such high level and significance as Yulia Yefimova to be caught….” ( 🙂 ) Funny, isn’t?
And more
“When I used to coach Yefimova I knew very well about all of her medical programs and drugs she consumed.”
Medical program? Drugs consumed? Are we talking about nursing home or about healthy elite level young swimmer?
The conclusion is very obvious. The usage of pharmaceutical products has been always an important part of Yefimova’s training process. She was mentally ready for shortcuts in her training process. It was a routine for her to deal with pharmaceutical products to help her training. Following her “suspended driver license” comments it is easy to conclude that she was ready to cross the boundaries of gray area of what is allowed and what is not. The first accident wasn’t an accident at all. It is clear now that there was no question “will she do it again”. There was a question “When?”

aswimfan

I have read newly released statement by Salo.
I’m, the statement and explanation actually put Salo more in bad light.

His statement can be summarized as:
I have complete faith in my swimmers, and it cannot be their mistake if they tested positive to banned substances.

Either he is extremely naive and loyal to a fault or.. He’s just not there and don’t get it. I give him the benefit of the doubt by not proposing anything sinister going on at Trojan Swim Club.

Yozhik

So Ger, this coach (Salo) is also well aware about medical programs and drugs taken by Efimova. If so then let’s forget the above discussion about moral purity of athlete who takes drugs that are obvious candidates for being prohibited. Let’s talk about coach’s moral stands. I think that is the root of the problem of doping in Sport. Somebody initiates this mentality and makes first introduction. I won’t be surprised if in majority cases that somebody is coach or team doctor. How often we see coaches punished strongly for such crime?

Tiger Christian

FINA plays dirty and that is the truth. She is not the only guilty athlete. Coaches are guilty when they play the blind eye to athletes under their direction. This goes back to the East Germans in the 70’s and history of the sport of swimming. There are guilty Americans and Federations who play the blind eye then point the finger to nations like Russia. We are no different from one another and all have strengths and weekness in attempts to win. We need a new system that will clean the culture that has been around for decades. Federation with efforts knowingly inventing new drugs ahead of the banned substance list curve that can beat a dope test is wrong. All the big coaches know the tricks of the trade. That is the real hogwash. Coaches playing the blind eye is the worst crime. The culture needs to change. It can not be restructured. Everything needs to be built brand new!

clive rushton

“I think there is a problem, but in swimming it is not a big problem,” Fina executive director Cornel Marculescu.

http://www.bbc.com/sport/swimming/35834087

Craig Lord

“You cannot condemn the stars just because they had a minor incident with doping.” same man, Clive. He’s in for a rude awakening from his sleepy swimming hollow…

Yozhik

One more citation from Irina Vyatchanina. She called meldonium just a trifle in Yefimova’s medication menue suggesting by that that there were much stronger plates. Vyatchanina makes an impression of expert who knows what she is talking about. It gives some idea about the standards and mentality of coaching staff in Russia. It can be similar in many other countries but I never heard that somebody talks about this the way Vyatchanina does. Salo’s way is more preferable by other coaches whose swimmers are messing with PEDs.

clive rushton

Speaking on this issue and on doping in general Cornel has apparently just come out with, “This is a battle we will not win but we will fight and fight ..”

Can you imagine Churchill coming up with that line? The Nazis would have rolled on the floor laughing.

Craig Lord

Clive, he said precisely the same thing in 1998 in Perth when the China crisis was in full swing. The FINA leadership has been soft and overly tolerant on doping, no question – and in the past 10 years, the silence of leaders in coaching, among swimmers etc has grown, as Feds have issued ‘speak only of your own performance and nothing else’ instructions. There has been a high price to pay. Cultural change is due not only at the FINA top table… it will come.

Felix Sanchez

I can imagine Churchill saying anything if someone paid him enough.

To be fair – unlike the above clanger – there is a fundamental truth to that one. This case is another reminder that doping technology is constantly evolving. The only option is to fight and fight; there is no outright ‘win’.

Ger

“I think there is a problem, but in swimming it is not a big problem.”

“This is a battle we will not win.”

How those comments fit together is anyone’s guess.

If a swimmer tests positive, which parties are notified?

Craig Lord

The director you quote is among the first to know, Ger; he has, at leas in the past, been the man who said which substances were tested for, too – and not all substances that could have been tested for have been tested for at all major meets in the past. FINA is the WADA signatory in swimming – so if a European swimmer, say, testes positive (even in continental competition), it is FINA, not LEN, for example, that will be informed first and foremost, the domestic testing agency (if involved) will know, too, as will the domestic federation of the swimmer concerned. When FINA (or other Code signatories) hear of the positive, there is an obligation to report to WADA within a timeframe. Such deadlines are being missed on a regular basis by certain nations…

Craig Lord

The point Clive was making, I imagine, Felix, was that Churchill (whatever your personal take on that figure may be) had the fight in him and was willing – with many others and the sweat and toil and sacrifice of nations to battle to the end against what had to be defeated. It would also be easy to say today that there was no outright win – and yet, easy to know there was a win – and it was worth fighting tooth and nail for (and is why we in Britain and others elsewhere honour those who battled, the many who lost their lives doing so, with every passing year – and will do so for as long as such things are imaginable).

Different stakes, different realm, different time but no question in my mind that there is no such genuine fighting spirit in too many at the helm of swimming’s leadership – and that has been the case for far too long, inaction, tolerance, blind eyes and more par for the course for decades. Even acknowledgment is absent – ‘no big problem’ in a sport in which 13 to 16 years olds have been and continue to be abused by category A substances? Right, Mr Marculescu. We assume he’s a man with no daughters, no daughters in sport, no sense of the hurt, harm and torment of the victims and their families … and on and on. We assume he’s a man out of touch with modern child-protection policies and thinking. He is certainly a man who lived through the days of the GDR in the pool; and through the China Crisis of the 1990s as a man in whose hands big decisions and say rested; he is certainly a man in the director’s post when the GDR doping trials unfolded and Lothar Kipke was among those handed criminal convictions -…. and yet, no action whatsoever…

All things evolve. Bad things are always worth fighting regardless of where the ‘win’ may live along a spectrum of perceptions and possibilities.

If you want clean sport, you have to believe in it and work hard at it. Swimming’s leadership has not worked hard enough, not even close (and I don’t mean the efforts of genuine anti-doping folk and some experts going about their work to the best of their ability as they must – I mean the approach and attitude of leaders who could and should be much clearer about where they stand on doping in sport, even what they say, let alone what they do, known and unknown, heaped in contradiction)

(p.s. I think your suggestive sketch of Churchill as a man motivated to speak out only if there was money in it makes you a poor scholar of a man and a history that, without doubt, come with controversial sides to them – it was, as I’m sure you know, far more complex and indeed fascinating than that)

Ger

Thanks Craig. There’s a lot can be read into your comments. Standing in conspiracy corner (which I’m inclined to do, admittedly) for a minute I’m lost as to why FINA wouldn’t thoroughly test for all possible substances the procedure allows. If they were serious about catching cheats, they would surely not hesitate to do so. Just how far is the corruption going? Is FINA aware of doping issues they are not admitting to and prepared to cover up? Maybe the situation is a lot worse in swimming than is known publicly and FINA would prefer to keep it quiet.

Craig Lord

In short, Ger, it comes down to this: conflict of interests among people who want to promote stars and claim they want to catch those falling foul of anti-doping rules – and end up saying ‘you can’t condemn the stars…’ – telling us 2 things:
1. we know where their priorities rest – the show and money and continued status quo
2. FINA should have anti-doping removed from its jurisdiction, thus removing that conflict of interest in the interests of helping swimming governance move to the next level of evolution…

clive rushton

Felix, Craig ‘imagines’ my point totally accurately. I have difficulty imagining how you could taint my observation with your comment about WSC.

Felix Sanchez

Craig, am I right in interpreting the first paragraph of your response in suggesting that I suggested that there was no outright win in Churchill’s war? That is certainly not something I came close to touching on. The whole point is that Clive compared the Marcelescu comment to Churchill’s more strident style; however as far as this quote goes – and only this mind you – I do have to agree with Marcelescu. The war on drugs isn’t like fighting an enemy army that can be defeated once and for all; the only option is to fight and fight against a constantly shifting threat.

(There was no sketch of Churchill as a man motivated to speak out “only” if there was money involved. However, it’s no secret that he liked a bit of compensation from time to time (would have made an excellent FINA delegate). This isn’t historyvortex, but it would take a very poor scholar to deny his mercenary mouthpiece side.)

Craig Lord

Felix, I agree that Churchill has some of the funniest and finest quotes to his name of anyone in history – and many of them have been used to stir folk to fine achievements, too.

Now, on Marculescu, I concede nothing and while I understand your point, I note that I have heard him say the same or very similar things for more than two decades — if all you can say is ‘a fight we can’t win’ alongside ‘you can’t condemn the stars for …’ and ‘swimming doesn’t have a big problem’ after having lived through (and been in power throughout) decades of abuse of minors, athletes, the system and the sport, then you really don’t ever deserve to be compared with any serious figure in history, let alone Churchill, in good or bad light.

Mr Marculescu and those closest to him are best compared to their own work, their worlds and their deeds.

The FINA director has been too weak and too soft on doping for a long, long time – and that shows in the words he utters, including ‘we can’t win’.

I believe that there will always be those who cheat – but you can win (no win, as we know in swimming, is ‘perfect’, and that doesn’t matter) – and you must fight for that to be the case every stroke of the marathon you know you are in for – all the more so if you are the WADA CODE signatory committed to fighting the fight (no wobbling on about ‘a fight we can never win’ etc).

If the man doesn’t feel up to the job, having failed clean swimmers so badly for far too long, he should resign and let someone else take up the role who feels more able to fight for what can be won.

Felix Sanchez

Craig, of course I couldn’t disagree with that – nor would want to. Was just offering a little sympathy to that one quote taken in isolation. A rigorous pursuit of truth should give the fairest possible reading to those whom one instinctively disagrees with (we’re not pig-headed politicians after all). However, Ger’s comment does very succinctly shows the problem of trying to assess quotes in isolation. And as you spelt out more fully, it doesn’t look at all good coming from a man with his record.

Craig Lord

Thanks Felix – as you suggest, if the quote had come from a person with a keen record of fighting the fight and stating that must go on despite the understanding that you’ll never get 100% clean sport and a guarantee of, human nature being what it is, I wouldn’t have blinked … but you’re last thought is spot on.

KP Mohan

It seems there is no provision for a lifetime ban in the rules (WADC 2015) for a second violation. At a maximum the Russian swimmer could be suspended for eight years. Reductions are however routine these days.

KP Mohan

She can only get eight years suspension and not life ban.

Craig Lord

KP – unlikely but there is provision for a lifetime ban in fina rules – bringing the sport into disrepute (lying on oath, that kind of thing)
http://www.swimvortex.com/yana-martynova-appeals-4-year-ban-as-january-test-questions-efimova-line/

KP Mohan

Several athletes seem to be pinning hopes on “I took it in November/December and stopped, it seems to have remained in my system” defence. Whether that would stand or not is to be seen only when the first few cases of the 100-odd (110 on last count) meldonium violation are brought up. “Bringing the sport into disrepute” argument simply on the strength of a second offence would be difficult unless there are charges that we do not know of at this point. But yes, the meldonium story is yet unfolding.

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