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  1. #76

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Being an over the counter drug, I think the comparison to HGH and steroids is a little harsh. (Sure, cocaine and heroin were over the counter in the 1920's, but not in giant amounts.) I really think it's a case of "Hey, this might or might not help, but it's legal, so why not?"

    Here are a few quotes from the Wikipedia page on Meldonium in the 'debate' section:

    professor Michael Joyner, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, ... "Evidence is lacking for many compounds believed to enhance athletic performance. Its use has a sort of urban legend element and there is not much out there that is clearly that effective. I would be shocked if this stuff [meldonium] had an effect greater than caffeine or creatine."[83]

    Ford Vox, a U.S.-based physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine and a journalist reported "there's not much scientific support for its use as an athletic enhancer".

    Don Catlin, a long-time anti-doping expert and the scientific director of the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG) said "There's really no evidence that there's any performance enhancement from meldonium Zero percent".
    Anything pointing towards a performance enhancement is something like "so-and-so says it might help, but has no evidence to back it up," or "theoretically it could." It's also stated fact that the only reason it was banned is because it was clearly and obviously being used for "off-label use."

    Of course the intention was to increase performance (although same thing with aspirin or creatine or multivitamins or oxygen eggs) and push it right to the edge of compliance. However, I doubt it would have been banned if it wasn't a ton of Russians taking it, and I also think 20+% of Russians taking basic sugar pills would have gotten sugar pills banned. WADA was pissed at Russia at the time (for good reason).

    Of course it's an employee's fault. You think these players are digging through these rules themselves? However, the idea that "she never hid it" is outrageous and laughable. She continues to be a complete dunce when it comes to public relations. She easily could have gotten an easier sentence and been allowed to chalk it up to an injury if she hadn't been so utterly clueless.

  2. #77

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Charlie, Agree with your assessment. I think I could argue that caffeine has been far more conclusively shown to have a degree of performance enhancement. Of course, caffeine has been all over the place with the banning....not banned at all, banned completely, banned in high amounts. For meldonium, the fact that it was being used for performance enhancement does make me feel a ban was warranted.

    All of this gets very confusing. I am not a Maria fan, but even I think that 2-year ban might have been excessive for the degree of performance enhancement she might have been getting. But as you said, I'm sure her "defense" of her situation actually worsened her sentence.

    By the way, for me, I think WADA has not been harsh enough on Russia. Given how badly they have cheated in all sorts of ways in sports, I'm not sure what would be "enough" for me. But as a disclaimer I've stated before: the fact that their repeated and unpunished overt cheating in figure skating led to me swearing off the sport almost totally has left me a bit bitter.

    GH

  3. #78

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Quote Originally Posted by GlennHarman View Post
    All of this gets very confusing. I am not a Maria fan, but even I think that 2-year ban might have been excessive for the degree of performance enhancement she might have been getting.
    She only got illegal performance enhancement for 5 events.
    Last edited by MeganFernandez; 07-27-2020 at 06:14 AM.
    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

  4. #79

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    On the other hand, look up her record in three setters before and after the ban. Before, she was sterling. After, she barely won. Something was odd there.
    If indeed an employee was in charge of looking up at her e-mails and seeing what she could or could not take, it comes as a revelation NOW? Why not during the "trial" (for a better word) process?
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  5. #80
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    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    On the other hand, look up her record in three setters before and after the ban. Before, she was sterling. After, she barely won. Something was odd there.
    I'm willing to cut her a lot of slack on her pre and post performance before concluding it was the drug. She took a forced 15 month vacay at age... 29? 30? Then came back under a ton of pressure to re-prove herself, and probably a lot of nastiness or at least iciness from the other players, the media, etc.

    I'm sure it helped her a bit, even if just as a placebo, but there's no way meldonium took a player to #1 that didn't otherwise deserve to be there.

  6. #81

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Quote Originally Posted by MeganFernandez View Post
    She only got illegal performance enhancement for 5 events.
    She played one event.

  7. #82

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    On the other hand, look up her record in three setters before and after the ban. Before, she was sterling. After, she barely won. Something was odd there.
    If indeed an employee was in charge of looking up at her e-mails and seeing what she could or could not take, it comes as a revelation NOW? Why not during the "trial" (for a better word) process?
    Ah yes, the before and after argument. It's impossible! An athlete, with a noticeable roller coaster career, who had multiple potentially career ending surgeries, and is already at retirement age (if you'd like to be done), is forced to stop for 14 months. Let's go ahead and compare any result before and after. I feel confident in saying that the argument doesn't get included in the journals of medical science. "Well that's good enough for me!" sort of reminds me of my dad saying "So much for global warming" anytime it's cold outside. Random anecdotal evidence feels silly. I think it would be just as valid to compare the slam-winning powers of having sex with Dimitrov. What's the winning percentage of both Sharapova and Serena before and after their times dating him? I think we could have an equally valid argument about the magical or poisonous powers of his wang.

  8. #83
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    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    On the other hand, look up her record in three setters before and after the ban. Before, she was sterling. After, she barely won. Something was odd there.
    If indeed an employee was in charge of looking up at her e-mails and seeing what she could or could not take, it comes as a revelation NOW? Why not during the "trial" (for a better word) process?
    It did. There is zero news in these "news." Eisenbud's testimony said it was his responsibility to update her annually and that he missed it on the list while checking email poolside on vacation, something like that.


  9. #84

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    By the way, without psychic powers, I don't think anyone is ever going to learn anything interesting or vulnerable from Maria. Tell us a story about banging a barback in Barcelona when you were 19, or sneaking away from your dad to stay up all night when you were supposed to be serious, or even something silly like wolfing down a burger when no one was looking. This excerpt is boring.

  10. #85

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie02123 View Post
    She played one event.
    There you go. Australian Open.
    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

  11. #86

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Quote Originally Posted by MeganFernandez View Post
    There you go. Australian Open.
    Five matches might have been the mix up. The person who would have a legit complaint against her is Bencic. Bencic has won a big match against Serena, so it's not out of the realm of possibility. Sharapova beat her in the R16 and gave some sort of quote like "the young girls are great, but us veterans are still around and playing." Whooooops.

  12. #87

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie02123 View Post
    Five matches might have been the mix up. The person who would have a legit complaint against her is Bencic. Bencic has won a big match against Serena, so it's not out of the realm of possibility. Sharapova beat her in the R16 and gave some sort of quote like "the young girls are great, but us veterans are still around and playing." Whooooops.
    Yeah, 5 matches. Thanks. Funny about the karma quote.
    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

  13. #88

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie02123 View Post
    By the way, without psychic powers, I don't think anyone is ever going to learn anything interesting or vulnerable from Maria. Tell us a story about banging a barback in Barcelona when you were 19, or sneaking away from your dad to stay up all night when you were supposed to be serious, or even something silly like wolfing down a burger when no one was looking. This excerpt is boring.
    Maria banged Grigor. Lucky *itch
    25 GRAND SLAM TITLES: 5 SINGLES 13 DOUBLES 7 MIXED

  14. #89

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    I say this as a proud and ,in some circles, hypocritical Sharapova supporter. Ask nelslus

    For me it was a tad unfair how hard some came down on Sharapova. Meldonium was legal until 1 Jan 2016. She had every right to take it up until it was banned. Performance enhancer? It better be!! But why she took it legally is none of our business. She played one tournament between 1 - 26 Jan and when the positive result went public she never denied taking it when it was legal and afterward. Not exactly the dodgy calculation associated with classic doping in sport scandals. Please see Lance Armstrong and just about any Russian athletic entity of the last 100 years or so for better examples.

    Djokovic attributes enhancement in his play after cutting gluten out of his diet and he doesn't need to defend it. Performance enhancer possibly, but gluten is socially acceptable and has always been legal. Hell, aren't the players who commit to optimal fitness enhancing their play? For sure, but diet & exercise are socially acceptable and still legal. But for the haters Maria was a serial drugs cheat. Yes and no. She was hardly calculating and hiding away. She failed her first drugs test at her first tournament after meldonium was banned. Maria was a 26 day doper. Yes, she didn't get caught until March but she is most definitely not responsible for WADA's testing schedule. Frustratingly, Cornet isn't either. See below

    Cornet missed THREE random drug tests in a 12 month period. She successfully argued 2 were missed because she was away at tournaments but told testing officials she would be home. I guess they have to chase her down. Even more ludicrous she aruged the third missed test was because of a broken doorbell. WADA basically said testing officials didn't do enough to locate her because, I guess, it must be their responsibility to make sure the wires in her doorbell are working properly. Incroyable!! By shirking responsibility for her own actions, Cornet deserves the cloud of doper to hang over her career in the same vein as 'convicted' dopers Sharapova and silly Errani. There is a stronger case for dodgy calculation with the Cornet case than Maria's. Both women initially handed two year bans. Maria served 15 months while Cornet served nothing. That Italian squealer missed 10 months.

    I'd have more to say about Gasquet & Hingis as cocaine use is against the rules, but that drug is hardly a performance enhancer. Reeshard did get to deflect blame onto a hot piece he snogged at a Miami nightclub and had his ban reduced to six weeks. The real lesson for him was avoid Bob Sinclair DJ sets Hingis gets a pass - why? because I LOVE HER as she basically said f*** you to a two year ban and just retired from tennis (for the second time!!). And then there is Agassi and his ATP enablers. The less said, the better. I was never a fan. But what was the deal with the four kisses to the crowd? He was hardly that adored. Which brings me back to Djokovic. Oh I better stop now
    Last edited by the Moz; 07-28-2020 at 07:11 PM.
    25 GRAND SLAM TITLES: 5 SINGLES 13 DOUBLES 7 MIXED

  15. #90

    Re: Maria Sharapova Has Retired

    the Moz, Certainly a very valid point you make is that sentences for doping violations are not handed down equitably. Some people get harsh sentences for almost nothing. Kyoko Ina, an American figure skater, was banned for 4 years (a career-ending ban) for missing a test that was at least as much the fault of the woman sent to administer the test. On the other hand, the people you refer to with "just about any Russian athletic entry of the last 100 years" mostly got off free and didn't lose medals or time from competition. Obviously, there are probably a very few totally clean Russian athletes who are now paying for the sins of their forbears, but the number of truly "clean" ones is probably small enough that we shouldn't worry about them, beyond telling them to blame the systematic cheating by their forbears for their current state.

    By the way, the same year Kyoko Ina was given that 4-year ban was the year that the 2 French officials (one judge, one federation president) were given a 3-year suspension for plotting to fix 2 of the 4 skating disciplines at the 2002 Winter Olympics. And the Russian contingent who was clearly behind the fixing of those competitions got a total of ZERO suspensions. I know that is 2 different agencies handing down the punishments, but they are in the same sport. Equitable punishments are not the strength of this system.

    As I had already said, I also agree with you that the length of Maria's suspension was probably excessive, even without comparing it to others who clearly got off light. The fact that it was a drug that had only very recently gone from legal to illegal should have made them be a little lenient. Medically speaking, I would also factor in the degree to which the drug is dangerous (very little to worry about) and the degree that it actually affected performance (probably very little also) would enter into my calculation. I would come down far harder on an athlete testing positive for a potentially very dangerous drug (cocaine, crystal meth, etc.). That would be for reasons other than "performance enhancement". But I'm not the one making the rules.

    GH

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