Yuliya Efimova Tells Russia “I’m Innocent” Despite Two Meldonium Positives in 2016

Yuliya Efimova and Dr. Homayun Gharavi in warm up at world titles last year - photo by Patrick B. Kraemer
Yuliya Efimova and Dr. Homayun Gharavi in warm up at world titles last year - photo by Patrick B. Kraemer

Yuliya Efimova, the Russian swimmer facing exclusion from the Olympic Games and a possible lifetime ban after testing positive for a banned substance for the second time in a little over three years, is to base her defence on a claim that she ingested Meldonium for the last time in 2015.

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Comments

mark schwartz

Your last question about elite athletes being so unhealthy that they are constantly ingesting pharmaceuticals is right on the money. As I understand it, Meldonium is utilized to treat an acute condition for a short period of time. Why are scores, if not hundreds, of elite athletes taking it for years on end? P.S. has there ever been a cheater who has said. “Yes I took a banned substance because I wanted to be the best and I thought I could get away with it.”

Craig Lord

Great question, Mark. I can’t recall one who phrased it quite like that 🙂
Here’s one who came close recently: Olga Beresnyeva (UKR), complete with her explanations of where and how it all went wrong:
(The story is at the end of this long file of various aspects of one of the WADA IC reports):
http://www.swimvortex.com/wada-ic-report-response-words-words-words-a-little-action-a-woeful-history/

Yozhik

If Dr. Homayun Gharavi is sincere then I cannot call Efimova other than a Con artist.
Same can be probably said about Salo. Following his interview he knew that Efimova was taking meldonium. What was the reason to take doping at the out of season time (December). I have only one answer – it was a part of training routine to sustain heavy training exercises.
I am curious to know how meldonium was used by athletes. What for? To make training more efficient or directly for racing purposes only. It looks like the sufficient statistics exists if t was taken for so long by so many. Vyatchanina called it a trifle among other PEDs. What exactly did she mean by that?

Eugene

I really hope that Julia will be allowed to compete in Rio.

Yozhik

Actually it is a good idea , Eugine. We do have Olympic Games, we do have Special Olympic Games, why not to have Games for dopers. Let them go all the way to see who dies first.

aswimfan

I found Salo’s statement is most shocking.

Either he is the most naive and easily duped person on earth or he thinks everyone else too dumb.

C’mon Dave Salo, this is not the first time Efimova tested positive for banned substances.

Craig Lord

You hope against hope, Eugene: 2 positives in February after a Jan 1 deadline. How about saying ‘I hope the wishes of clean athletes in the Rio race come true and they get to race undisturbed by the calamities of one of their former competitors’.

ThereaLuigi

Dear Eugene, compete for what? Position as guest speaker in some medical congress? I think she has all the right expertise now.

stabilo

Mark – presumably your first question is rhetorical?

The one thing that does need a clear answer, is how long a substance can be detected in your body for after you last take it. And actually now I think of it, when something is banned, is it the TAKING that’s banned, or the TESTING. If something is banned 1st Jan, then if you take it Dec 31st you will (probably) test positive. Is this against the rules?
On some other thread someone mentioned that Meldonium stays in the system only 5 hours – so Efimova’s defence would be nonsense.

ThereaLuigi

they just dont make tests on the 1st day a substance is banned, Stabilo. They are not so stupid to open themselves to that kind of defence.

Craig Lord

stabilo, any claimed ‘date of ingestion’ is irrelevant to the positive test and consequence of same. The relevant dates are Feb 15 and Feb 24, 2016, both days on which Efimova is said to have tested positive for Meldonium.
I have no idea how long Mldm is detectable in a body but it has generally been a plus in anti-doping if you can still detect a substance through anti-doping test a week after ingestion, let alone 6-7 weeks after…

stabilo

Sure ThereaLuigi, and hopefully no-one is stupid enough to take a drug the day before it’s banned. Like Korotyshkin says, you know this thing is monitored/being banned, so you stop taking it very early. But just in principle, if a drug stayed in your system 3 months say. (Sorry, don’t know what is a ‘normal’ length of time something is detectable).

PS Unrelated but Korotyshkin’s interview after 100Fly medal in London is wonderful – have you ever seen someone that happy!

stabilo

Ok thanks Craig

ThereaLuigi

Stabilo, though I confess I am not an expert, I would expect the guys at the antidoping agency to know in advance how long the “window” is and take samples only after enough time has elapsed to make their case solid. What’s the point of entering dozens legal battles, it’s not like the olympics start tomorrow. I would assume if they tested people in February is because they knew 1/2 months are enough to free the body of any trace of the banned substance.

Craig Lord

stabilo, no idea on mldm, as stated, but stuff like artificial testosterone and related can de detectable for 3 to 18 months (cheats, of course would work hard to reduce that to the 1-3 day window possible). But it makes no difference to anti-doping rules…. the day of your test is what makes it relevant. If you’re taking a substance 18 months and then 12 months and then 6 months and then 3 months before that substance gets an official “banned” sticker on it (and the advertising for that was legion – she could not possibly NOT have known), you presumably talk to your doctor, your coach and those who place their trust in you and you get an alternative sorted out that is suitable for the condition that caused you to go looking for a remedy in the first place, one would imagine, in theory and all that…

Yozhik

I hope that Eugene’s stance are sencire since he repeats it again and again. It is either PEDs are the acceptable way for people to improve their natural abilities if there are no dangerous side effects. Or it is immoral to behave by double standards or being a hypocrite of finding a scapegoat when everybody around are involved in cheating even at higher degree.
But most of the time I have an impression that he just likes to make waves … ” see how extraordinary and untraditional my position is!”
With that he and Felix Sanchez are like brothers if not the same person.

Eugene

In my eyes, she’s not a cheater. This is just a case of careless behavior, but not more. Of course she should have stopped using it earlier to avoid problems. But why do you think that traces of this drug couldn’t stay in her body for more than one or two weeks? Any evidence that this is a lie? I believe it’s individual. And modern equipment in those laboratories is extremely sensitive.

Let’s be honest – how dumb must an athlete be to take banned substance (after it was officially banned) knowing that he is about to pass doping control in few weeks? Especially when this substance is just a simple cardioprotector which won’t help you even drop few tenths of a second in your event. No, I don’t believe she didn’t realize this. It would be way too stupid for an experienced athlete who already had troubles with DC and should be extra-careful now.

Eugene

Yozhik, no. I wish I had some time for trolling in the Internet, but I don’t.

Yozhik

Stabilo, the only reason when WADA can run tests on recently banned substances being aware that there is high possibility of drug being detected despite it was taken prior of ban date is an intentional targeting. But this brings us into conspiracy theory area where I’m not an expert. Ask Eugene. It seems he knows a great deal about that since he started the discussion about Efimova case with very brief not trolling comment ” politics…”

mark schwartz

Craig Lord thank you for that link to Olga Beresnyeva’s statement. One could actually feel sympathetic for an athlete’s whose long career was coming to an end and who chose to resort to PEDs for one last hurrah. The prospect of transitioning from competitive athlete to civilian so to say must be frightening and any means to put off that day of reckoning must be very tempting.

Craig Lord

You may well be right, Eugene, we cannot truly know her motives, we can but assume based on what we perceive and what this athlete has done and said.
Regardless, the rule does not impose penalties for ‘cheating’ (intent may be measured in the nature of punishment, yes); the penalty is imposed on those who fall foul of the rules. She has done. On the question of how long the substance was in her body, the two February dates in question may turn out to be significant. We shall have to wait and see.

“just a simple cardioprotector” – no such thing in sport, Eugene, really not. If the heart is not strong enough to do this stuff on the basis of a great sports diet and lifestyle but for purpose, they should have a gentle paddle and then go off and be a librarian or take up knitting. Swimming is a bloody tough sport and elite swimming is for the superfit not the dodgy of heart.

beachmouse

Some athletes really do come across as not terribly bright. See runner Lashawn Merritt’s “boom boom with the ladies” explanation of his doping positive.

Felix Sanchez

Yozhik, I think you’d be better off not trying to interpret people’s motives, and just respond (or not) to what is actually in the comments. Even if you do suspect strange motives, it doesn’t hurt to have a devils advocate – or justify getting personal.

With all these meldonium cases there is potential for a legal issue about how long it stays in your system. Does anyone know if guidelines were supplied? The sheer number of cases must leave it beyond doubt that the majority, at least, have been using it for performance enhancement. Given this, very few would probably have been willing to admit to use, but perhaps in future, if a drug is about to be banned, there could be an opportunity for users to come forward and admit to having it in their system.

As to Mark’s initial question, there have been a few examples in athletics. Ben Johnson and Dwain Chambers both came clean, but did so while claiming that use was widespread (if not universal). This combination of factors won them few friends in the sport, whereas those who deny deny deny always find a few believers, and achieve greater acceptance on their return.

Craig Lord

haven’t got time to dig out the complexity of references in Code and guidelines, Felix, but essentially the process you speak of does exist: that is why WADA flagged this up to 2 years out and that is part of protocol and process as research comes in to suggest a substance ought to be viewed with suspicion in terms of how and by whom it is being used; and is why we find Vlad Salnikov making sure his troops know about it 18 months out and posting a last warning on RSF home page as a permanent fixture for 3 months at the end of last year etc etc…. lots and lots of signals, signs and countdowns out there for all to know, this is not something you should continue to include in your diet….

Blah Blah

Given what happened to many athletes who eventually came clean (or even those who came clean early), there doesn’t seem to be much benefit to coming clean. Therefore none of this is surprising. It does make you wonder how many other performance enhancers are out there that have yet to hit the banned list. My guess is … A LOT.

stabilo

Craig – I have to say I’m a bit confused. You suggested a week is a long time (for a drug to still be detectable) but then seem to say that testosterone, at least, may be detectable up to 18months after taking. Clearly if this is also the case for Drug X, then even an athlete who stops taking it immediately that the substance goes even on the ‘monitored’ list may still fail the test that comes well over a year after they last took it.

I can only assume, like TL and Yozhik, that WADA knows what it is doing in this regard, though others – you can guess who! – don’t seem to agree:

“[Meldonium] manufacturer Grindeks said in a written statement to Reuters that meldonium has a half-life of between four and six hours but “its terminal elimination from the body may last for several months” depending on a variety of factors such as dose, duration of treatment, and sensitivity of testing methods.” (Source sbs.com.au)

I see also that Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said: “Today, we have received WADA explanations in which it said they had held no laboratory tests to establish for how long meldonium can be present in a human organism. They, just like we did, used recommendations for the formula’s use which say that it takes from six to eight hours for the drug to leave the human body.” (Source: insidethegames.biz)

Felix Sanchez

Certainly, but perhaps a particularly brazen individual would insist on using a substance right up to the ban date and claim some sort of exemption for the period of time it is likely to appear in their system.

ThereaLuigi

“Let’s be honest – how dumb must an athlete be to take banned substance (after it was officially banned)” etc.

Well Eugene you could ask the same question for any athlete that has ever been caught, couldn’t you? A possible answer is: it’s just a matter of weighing benefits against risks; if you are not-so-elite without the drug, why not take the chance?

stabilo

Last thing – the WADA website says that “The updated [Prohibited] List is published by October 1 and comes into effect on January 1 the following year.”

So that is still 3 full months; and in this particular case you would need ~5 months of detection ability for Efimova to fail in February. Sounds unlikely.

[And also “June– July – Draft List circulated to stakeholders (government and sport movement) for consultation and comment.” which might give even more time for people to hear what is about to be added.]

Craig Lord

stabilo, the gap between what is medically possible — this being what I was getting at…. i take an asthma drug related to the ‘flu I have and a few months from now good detection may well be able to pick that up. BUT, if I were an athlete attempting to hide my ingestion, there are things I could so to make sure there was no trace of what I’ve taken within a much, much shorter period of time.
No idea on Meldm, as stated, of course.
There is reasonable academic argument for discussing how long things remain in the body…and reasons for authorities not to give too much info away, too. In terms of anti-doping rules and penalties, the only thing that matters is the substance and the date it appeared.

Blah Blah

Eugene .. you clearly underestimate the desire of some people to win at all costs.

Yozhik

@Felix Sanchez: The ability of human brain to interpret people’s motives is the most advance feature of evaluation that distinguishs homo sapiens from animals. This entire discussion about Efimova is about finding the correct interpretation of her motives. So i’d better not to follow your free advice of ‘would be better off’.
At the same time I have to admit that in the cases like yours I failed to find any reasonable interpretations. What was your motive to challenge Clive Rushton on his mentioning of Churchill’s decisivness at WWII in comparison with FINA’s passiveness in fight against doping.
Who are you Felix Sanchez? So knowledgeable in Crimea events, an expert in British history, with Spanish sound like last name but writing in perfect American English and always sceptical without any hint of humor or optimism with your comments in swimming and social areas.
The person who most likely is enjoying living in civilized society, but at the same time advocating for not fighting crime strongly, just because it will exist forever. It looks like interpretation of your personality is the task far beyond my modest abilities. I give up. I’ll never again try to interpret what you are saying here.

stabilo

That may be so, Craig, but the date a substance is detected may be dependent on how long it hangs around after taking. Efimova is saying she last took it in December. This is already hugely stupid considering it was to be banned in January – this date known since October – and had been on the monitored list for a year before.

However. If there was a way she could indeed prove what she says, or there was proof that meldonium persisted at detectable levels for, say, 2 months, then the argument in favour of an appeal is quite strengthened. I hope – assume – that WADA has got it right, but we will have to wait and see.

(As you say, quite difficult to find any actual information on how long stuff persists for – for the obvious reasons!)

pegasus523

Craig,

A little assist … the WADC is pretty clear in ways that address some of the comments here. The Code is both simple and complex and digging out the references and citations IS time consuming and difficult.

The first important touchstone is that the Athlete bears great responsibility, see Article 2 of the Code … presence is a violation.

2.1 Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample

2.1.1 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.

Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing use on the athlete’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an anti-doping rule violation under Article 2.1.

Second point of reference, Sanctions are addressed in Article 10 and that article is too long and complex to place here. There are mitigating factors in the Sanction and penalty proceedings.

This is where the possibility of mitigating circumstances in favor of the athlete can be found. Article 10 is also where you can find reference to an athletes second and third violations.

Does this help?

Craig Lord

stabilo, such argument would also have to rely on known values for what remains and the curve of decrease. I see the potential for legal argument – I see no potential for genuine innocence, if the positive tests of february are confirmed (which appears to be the case according to the FINA reporting on it and RSF confirmation).
p.s no arguing with your view, just don’t have time to explain the nuance of what I mean today (this isn’t going away for a while….they’ll be time)

Craig Lord

Yes, certainly. Thanks for those references, Pegasus – I’m sure the readers asking, and others, will benefit. I will jog my memory when I get a chance… and doubtless find something new 🙂

felix

You liar, Yuliya

Felix Sanchez

Yohzik,

Please, enough. I’m sorry if anything said has offended you. I haven’t claimed to be an expert on anything, and if you had a problem with anything said on another article, you should have raised it at the time, not brought up my name here unprovoked.

I certainly never advocated not fighting crime strongly, or anything of the sort.

I’m sorry that you do not wish to take my advice, but I do not see the point in trying to guess at another’s background or motives – especially while not responding to the actual content of the comments.

Our endeavours to interpret Efimova’s motives are very different to responding to someone on an Internet discussion; however, there too, it’s better to stick to the facts. The reason we have the principle of ultimate responsibility for what’s in your system is to avoid the need for interpreting motives or assessing excuses. You have to avoid banned substances; if they turn up in your test you’re culpable; no need for interpretation, no point in excuses (theoretically).

I hope that’s tough enough for you.

pegasus523

An important thing for all to remember is that the Code has evolved over the years. Anyone who has an Anti-Doping Rules Violation has more rights, recognition of degrees of culpability, and opportunities to rebut findings.

What has not changed is that the athlete bears responsibility for the adverse finding and presenting credible evidence that the Code does not apply.

A wise person once told me to “start with the rule … apply it and and see where it takes you”.

Cheers!

Ger

Efimova’s statement:

Dear friends!

You’ve already heard I tested positive for a banned substance. That’s true. In February, the test I had in L.A. was positive for meldonium. I’m sorry you didn’t hear the news from myself. Someone leaked confidential information to the media.

I’m sorry I caused my fans, my loved ones and my sponsors such major negative emotions. I’m a pro athlete and responsible for what I take into my system. Now I want to reveal some facts to inform you what has happened.

First of all – I wasn’t warned that meldonium has been on the banned list since January. No one warned me – nor Russian neither international bodies did. Neither vocal nor via email. [NB: yes you were Yulia – unless you were hoping for a personal visit by Dick Pound bearing a letter sealed in gold – ED]

Secondly – the last time I took meldonium was due to a doctor’s order and when it was legal. I made sure it was legal and read the description before treatment. Why it appeared in my system months after I stopped taking it, experts are figuring out now. [NB: really? so much more to tell, surely, like when was it that you intended to tell your coach that you were taking meldonium, given that the DHEA positive surely told you you’d better share such info in future? ED]

Next – In my past, I had an accident and lost a year and a half of my career because of my negligence. Since then, I’m in a full control of what I take. And I can guarantee that all the meds and treatments I get are fully legal. [NB: no you didn’t Yuliya – you raced at Euro s.c titles in December, winning several medals, remember… and then by Feb, some 13-14 months later, you were getting set to get back into racing, speeding to the helm of the world rankings when you did, not much lost time there, then – and in between you, well, trained, mostly…and your suspension was just 16 months (far less served) not even 18, when it could quite easily have been 24 months as provision allowed at the time. Your suspension allowed you to return to the sport just in time to go through the process of qualifying for a world-championship. ED]

I deny that I’m a drug cheat. I and [my crew] are preparing for legal hearings and we will do our best to prove I didn’t cheat.

Also, I will keep training with hopes I’ll be in Rio. [NB: where will you train, Yulia, the door of Trojan about to close on you? ED]

[Thanks Ger – ED]

Felix Sanchez

Looks like someone is a bit envious of Sharapova’s ability to get out ahead of the story.

Interesting that she’s trying to make both the ignorance defence (I didn’t know it was banned), and the ‘I only took it when legal defence’. The two don’t exactly sit well together.

Is she claiming then that it is merely coincidence that her last use happened to be before the ban? If so, I would want to ask her how many times she did take it. If this was administered by a doctor records should exist. But it surely can’t have been too often, if – as she claims – she presumed it was still legal all this time, yet didn’t touch it.

Craig Lord

Good point, Felix.

Yozhik

@FS. I’m sorry, I have to take my words back. You and Eugine are not brothers. I may dislike what Eugene stands for but I have no problems to understand his points that are stated clearly without attacking anybody. Maybe it happens because I’m half Ukranian and have Ukrainian my first language 🙂
Your writing is indeed too tough. It looks like catching people on the wording regardless the essence of points they make entertains you. You are always correcting somebody and always it has a negative connotation. Like my fourth grade teacher with the stick who is ready to punish pupils for any mistake they made. That is the impression you are making on me. You are not making waves. I take it back. You are striking.
Are you a lawyer? 🙂

Yozhik

Whoever helped Efimova with this letter is probably not a good lawyer. If she was prescribed meldonium to treat her medical conditions and the end of the course of the treatment luckily coincided with the date when ban began (her second point) then what is the reason to start the letter with the statement that she wasn’t warned. By using that as her defence she admits implicitly that she did something wrong but wasn’t aware of that.
It only makes sense if she meant that should she knew about the ban on meldonium then she wouldn’t undergo the medical treatment by this drug. But her letter doesn’t sound like that. It sounds like meldonium was the only way to fix her health problems. It sound like the doctor who ordered meldonium had no idea of coming ban or had no clue for how long meldonium will be tracked. And the coach Salo didn’t care much that one his leading swimmers that he is paid good money for has medical problem or didn’t bother to figure out what kind of treatment she undergoes. Maybe he also wasn’t warned.

Felix Sanchez

Yozhik, I’m sorry if you have ever felt struck. I don’t recognise your characterisation, as the only mistakes I wish to correct/(punish) are those attributing beliefs or motives to myself that go beyond the comments made (and when coming from you, have shown little resemblance to the truth). It is you has made personal attacks, and I assure you that for any comment other than a personal attack, I have no wish to ‘catch you out’.

Yozhik

nice talking to you FS. Just yesterday I had no clue what a nice person you are. Now in touching simple English you explained it to everybody who cares. Good luck.

aswimfan

After reading that Yuliya’s letter to her fans etc., I can confidently conclude that Yuliya is one big fat LIAR.

Her statement contradicts with Salo’s statement about her.

gheko

No drug cheats are ever going to tell the truth, their morals are already distorted.

BoetMate

Sorry to weight so late on this debate. All I have to say is Yuliya, good luck with your legal defense. Your statement and the sequence of events has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese and I hope I never see you swim again.

Yuliya says “Secondly – the last time I took meldonium was due to a doctor’s order and when it was legal”
As she resides and trains in the USA I would be interested to know which doctor examined her (local or Russian) and prescribed this non FDA approved “medication”. Wonder if he/she will testify in Y’s defense.

She never knew it was banned and coincidentally last took in in December?? Dave Salo was cited in Californian media as saying last week: “Yulia stopped taking it [meldonium] in December when it became evident it was going to be on the banned list. Conflicting statements, wonder who is lying?

As pointed out by many above the list goes on and on..

Personally having witnessed many exception sporting performances over my lifetime ie
Ben Johnston, Lance Armstrong (7 times) , Michele Smith only to find out I was deceived and it was a fraudulent doped result, I have zero tolerance or sympathy for dopers.

Lifetime bans for adult dopers is the only solution so that those of us who pay to watch the best can do so without always wondering

Hetty Oliver

Why are ALL these so called healthy athletes with years of training behind them suddenly have to take heart medication. Firstly, I also blame the Doctor who has prescribed it, IF of course it was prescribed, can’t remember whether it is an OTC in Latvia. They are not stupid – in actual fact they think that they are clever as in trying to screw the system. The product enables you to have endurance but surely if you have done loads of training over the years you do not need endurance if the longest event you are swimming is say a 400m? I seriously think that Efimova’s coach should also be banned.

aswimfan

Hetty,

I am with you in that Efimova’s coach needs to share responsibility. This is the second time Efimova’s tested positive for banned substances while training under the same coach.

There was also some possibility that the same coach was training Efimova while she was serving the first suspension. If the coach had been a Russian or a Chinese, I’m sure majority here would want his head.

paolo rubbiani

I didn’t want to enter the endless discussions about doping and, as a swimming fan, I’ve really appreciated the swimming skills of Efimova since his great debut as one of the most promising breastrokers, but Efimova’s statement is really discouraging..
Even considering Efimova the most naive swimmer in the World, it’s nearly impossible believe in what she has stated, I’d say wholly impossible considering what her coach Salo had previously declared.

Considering the matter in general, my fear is that we can’t simply consider the white (the clean athletes) and the black (the dopers), but there is a wide grey zone, nearer to black than white, of all those athletes, coaches and doctors that, like the sadly famous Italian doctor Michele Ferrari affirmed, think that “doping is only when a test is failed”.
So, the research of every substance useful to enhance their performances.

Yozhik

Efimova stated that all this disturbance with meldonium and suspension don’t stop her training and preparation for competition in Rio. Where does she do it? In California or Moscow? By being tested positive on having PED in her blood just month ago will she be allowed to participate at Russian trials? Not because of violation but because she is still under influence. It looks like she feels very confident about that. Will it be a violation of FINA rules? Or it is up to Feds to decide. If so then how Australians were stupid not having Kylie Palmer competing in Kazan.

Yozhik

Quite a conundrum. She either has to say that meldonium doesn’t stay for long in her body and because of that there would be no unfair advantage at trials. But by saying so she admits that she violated WADA code in 2016. Or she has to say that in her particular situation meldonium remains in her blood stream for long period of time. Then how she can compete at trials.
She has to chose between being punished with life ban for multiple violations or skipping trials and not being selected for Olympic Games. Let’s see if the Russian Federation finds the solution.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, some answers:
Efimova is no longer allowed to train at Trojan. Where she goes next… ? I would imagine it would be hard to find a US program, same rules apply.
Prov. suspension dictates that she may not compete before “the final decision at a hearing” of her case… so, time ticks…
Not up to feds to decide… contained in DC.7 provisions and appendix 1 of doping control rules.

Eugene

>”Eugene .. you clearly underestimate the desire of some people to win at all costs.”

Well, that’s what professional sport is all about 🙂 I’ve already told this before but everyone hated the idea: sport should be strictly divided into professional (“win at all costs”) and amateur (“promote health and active lifestyle”). So that everyone could pick what’s right for him. Some other sports like bodybuilding have already done this. Not too healthy looking dudes weighing 150+ kilos kill themselves with lots of drugs, tons of obligatory food and brutal training. And they love it, it’s their own choice in life, they are happy with it despite all the negative effects. The idea of sport is always wanting more. Some people can’t stop just because they reached their natural limits. And which performance enhancers are “good” and which are “bad” is a too tricky question. That’s why I hate all these doping discussions – we will never agree with each other. For me taking Meldonium to support your hard working heart is the same as eating more protein and slow carbs to support your soring muscles. Many will disagree and I understand them. But the desire to win at all costs of some people must be respected in the same way as fighting for drug free sport by other people. Different categories (with doping allowed and prohibited respectively) should help stop this war.

Peace!

Craig Lord

The split should not be ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ but ‘elite’ and ‘freak’, for that is what it would be, Eugene. Sport is not about winning at all costs (and is not what actually happens, either).
Meldonium was made in a lab by a bloke in a white coat (and for sick people, not sport) – it doesn’t grow on trees and legs, as do proteins and vitamins. Big difference.
Winning at all costs is not a notion I ‘must’ respect – I do not.

Bad Anon

Has Efimova submitted a B sample to actually confirm the initial positive test or she tested positive for meldonium on two separate occasions?

Yozhik

@Eugene: Well, if by “professional” sport you mean business of earning money then I am sure you are well aware how the business ‘ at all cost’ ends up. In jail. I can only agree with you that “professional” swimming is a very undeveloped market and does need clear separation from amateur sport and does need strong regulations to protect fair business. Like existence of jail punishment for instance.

Bad Anon

….and Efimova’s name must now have 2 asterik marks for multiple doping allegations. Such a sad end the career of one of the breast strokers with a beautiful technique

Blah Blah

BoetMate you have most likely been deceived many more times than you think .. you (and most of us) just don’t know it yet. Not caught does not imply clean… I would think after Armstrong, Marion Jones, etc. this would be painfully obvious to all.

Craig Lord

a detail for the hearing Bad Anon …

katstevens

It doesn’t matter whether she was negligent or naive. She had the drug in her system and gained the unfair advantage – recovery, building up endurance while training – whatever. To let her compete without a lengthy ban (an Olympic cycle at minimum) is unfair to the other athletes. This goes for anyone who fails a test for any reason in my book, even if (for example) the pharmacist admits they messed up and supplied the wrong tablets over the counter, the only honourable thing for the athlete to do is to withdraw from competition.

Blah Blah

Eugene I am actually with you re: doping. If it were up to me, I would institute a “don’t ask/don’t tell” system where we test in theory but the tests are easily beatable (not so far from what we have today btw). I wouldn’t want children to believe they need doping to succeed, hence the “testing”, but once one made it to the top they could make the choice if they want to or not. This isn’t far from what sports are like today, in all likelihood. At least certain sports like cycling were clearly proven to be this way.

Craig Lord

Blah,. Blah: swimming is still vastly (mostly) populated by teenagers/minors and legally under-age people, the sport stacked with champions of 18 and less under the guardianship of adults in teaching and mentoring roles. What you suggest would be wildly irresponsible and, I suspect, not at all entertaining for the vast majority of swimming fans, let alone great athletes and the men and women they work with on the deck. You and Eugene have been here before. The point is made (most won’t agree, for sure). Leave it there, please: we do not condone doping, pharma-enhanced performance or any such things at this site and we are entirely for clean sport. Anything else is a waste of our lives and a hugely damaging deceit that bypasses the sick, spits at them and says ‘I’ve got your life-saving drugs and just look at my wheels go – aren’t I just …. [abhorrent]’. If you want freak shows and abuse, lots of other activities in the world and places where you’ll find them celebrated. Not here. Not interested in debating it nor arguing about it with you. End of topic, not even a reply. Thanks.

Yozhik

It is a matter of money if Efimova or whoever supports her have it enough to win the appeal. Lawyers, doctors, medical and scientific experts, witnesses – all this is expensive nowadays. But technically the positive outcome of the appeal on positive tests is possible. Does WADA have enough resources to spent them in court?
Was it any cases in the past when athletes refuse to compete with the person who was a cheater in public opinion but was technically acquitted.?

BoetMate

Blah Blah, I am sure you are not serious and are just winding everyone up but your suggestion of allowing top athletes to compete doped could never work (apart from the ethical, moral issues) as it would not be a commercial marketable enterprise.

Watching doped to the gills freakish athletes competing with some of them dying in the process is not something that would appeal to the reasonable person. Doping deaths are well documented with EPO thickened blood causing cardiac arrest the classic example.

It would be a competition of the doping doctors not the athletes. Armstrong still insists he fairly won those 7 TDF titles as “everyone” was doping. The truth is many/most cyclists were doping but Armstrong was simply the best doper not the best athlete. Doctor Michele Ferrari (issued a lifetime ban from professional sport in July 2012) who administered Armstrong’s doping program in and out of competition was the actual “winner”.

BTW IMO cycling today is far cleaner than swimming and athletics and we have have the downfall of Armstrong to thank for that. I am certain that Wiggins, Evans and Froome raced clean and their stage times up the classic Cat 4 or higher climbs which are up to 5% slower those in the Armstrong era testify to that.

Blah Blah

Craig will not allow me to respond to your grossly uninformed post so I’ll just leave it.

Craig Lord

Blah, Blah, I appreciate there are complex arguments in doping but one thing is simple for me and that is why I am not prepared to have this place used as a platform to promote daft ideas that depart from simple common sense and clarity: we don’t want doped sport. Full stop. There are rules in place and I believe they should be observed. If there are challenges to those rules that make sense, they, too, should be made, but the basic premise is what keeps us in this place: clean sport, clean athletes – both are out there and they are worth fighting for – without them, we close shop. Game over. I’m not interested in debating the ‘merits’ anyone may see in doped sport. Thanks for observing my request and for your understanding.

aswimfan

I agree with Boetmate,

Cycling is certainly far cleaner now than it used to, and most likely more clean than most other sports especially the “professional” ones like tennis.

Yozhik

What makes you so confident, aswimfan? The official reports? The road cycling tours were losing their attractiveness because of massive doping. The good news is desperately needed to have this business running profitably. How do you know that this cycling is clean now or is cleaner than tennis? Is it just because nobody wins TDF seven times in a row. Or because they became slower. Or because they are tested differently than athletes in other sports or because cyclist are made from different dough and one nice morning all together said “No” to doping? Seriously asf, where this information is coming from? Can it be a rumor carefully crafted and successfully spread?

aswimfan

Yozhik,

It is because in professional high-paying sports like tennis, doping control is laughable, certainly far more laughable compared to cycling.
In tennis, OOC testing is very minimum and most in competition tests were performed on those who lost matches, and the number of in competition tests is simply far inadequate, especially considering tennis rewards so much money for those at top 10-20.
FYI, Sharapova was tested after she lost the match.

Sigita Jonusaite

Efimova tested positive for meldonium twice in FEBRUARY and she claims she only took that drug when it was legal. FINA publishes the list of the athletes who were tested for doping every month. That info is available here: http://www.fina.org/content/statistics-2016
Interesting detail: Efimova was tested in JANUARY too! Apparently that test was OK. And then some magic happened and meldonium appeared in her system in February from nowhere, right? 🙂

aswimfan

Also, from their autobiography, we know that McEnroe used steroid and Agassi was on meth. Both never tested positive to anything.

Craig Lord

Good spot Sigita…

Yozhik

It is indeed the killing point in Efimova’s case. All her defense is built on statement that quantity of meldonium in her system was gradually decreasing but still detectable. I wasn’t sure that wada’s two tests in Feabruary were accurate enough in terms of measuring the quantity of melddonium to demonstrate that efimova’s point is false. If there was a negative test in January then what efimova has left with? Blaming on ward’s poor quality of testing procedures? Still can be an argument but much weaker now. They have to prove that there were sufficient number of cases when WADA failed to detect PED in athlete’s system when it was in fact taken.

Yozhik

@aswimfan: should you precede your original statement with ‘IMHO’ it wouldn’t raise any question to you about the source of your information.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

of course it is my opinion and no one else’s. Just like your comments are your opinions and no one else’s.

I don’t have the exact number at hand, but you can check with WADA, top cyclists get tested far more than top tennis players.

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