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I think that Sharapova was sure that she would not be severely punished, because she is a star. And the punishment was generally weak, CAS admitted that she MELDONIUM was adopted by mistake. A very strange decision.
But in any case, it turned out that her major victories are the result of a correctly selected drug. Without meldonium, Sharapova could not reach the previous level and often lost in the first circles.
 

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This will be my last reply to you since I do not wish to entertain this endless waste of time.

I think that Sharapova was sure that she would not be severely punished, because she is a star. And the punishment was generally weak, CAS admitted that she MELDONIUM was adopted by mistake. A very strange decision.
But in any case, it turned out that her major victories are the result of a correctly selected drug. Without meldonium, Sharapova could not reach the previous level and often lost in the first circles.
Of course Sharapova was sure she would not be punished, she had written approval by WADA for her use of Meldonium for the course of her career.
 

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...Of course Sharapova was sure she would not be punished, she had written approval by WADA for her use of Meldonium for the course of her career.
Where on earth did you dream this up? Here's an extract from the Executive Summary of Sharapova's own Statement of Facts to the CAS for her appeal:

1.3 Before she began taking Magnerot, Mildronate, and Riboxin on her doctor’s advice, Maria took all precautions necessary to ensure that their use was permitted under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the “TADP”). In particular, Maria – through her team – received written assurances from a WADA-accredited laboratory that Magnerot, Mildronate, and Riboxin were safe to use. Only then did Maria begin using these products.

That in no way constitutes any authority or approval from WADA to use Meldonium (the active ingredient in Mildronate). The ITF Tribunal which heard the original case stated:

If she had not concealed her use of Mildronate from the anti-doping authorities, members of her own support team and the doctors whom she consulted, but had sought advice, then the contravention would have been avoided.

This is something which I have posted several times in different threads where this has come up, and which I think is the most significant part of the whole mess. The doping control forms which players have to provide for each tournament are supposed to list every single drug, supplement, vitamin or whatever that the player is taking, even if they are as benign as aspirin. There are two parts as to why Sharapova's explanations about Mildronate are so dodgy:

1. If she was so certain that the drug was safe to use, as stated in her summary of facts, why did she NEVER include it on the medical forms which she provided to every tournament for TEN YEARS? It beggars belief that anyone as smart as Sharapova would not mention a supposed preventative treatment for heart disease and diabetes on her forms if she was quite certain that this drug was approved for use. And yet, her testimony to the CAS was "she did not hide her ingestion of Mildronate by not declaring it on her doping control forms, since Meldonium was not forbidden until 2016. She had simply misunderstood the meaning and scope of the declaration to be rendered."

2. According to the Tribunal, the ONLY people who knew that Sharapova was taking the drug were her father, her agent (Max Eisenbud) and her (former) personal physician, Dr Skalny. However, the CAS appeal report does state that "[she] was in fact open about it to many in her entourage," which seems odd when it wasn't mentioned earlier.
 

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1. Wasn't fact that she missed March and April prove that she served unannounced ban? NY Times reported that her father himself admitted that.

2. I know this is purely an assumption, but the obvious explanation would be because USADA could "intervene" Lepchenko's case since she is an American, while Sharapova is not.

1. There's a difference between a provisional suspension, in which a player is out of competition while waiting on the case to be heard/new information and guidelines to be released, and alleged "silent bans", in which a player is guilty of a doping offense and banned for the period ascribed the offense, but it's not announced in order to save face for both the athlete and the tour. Had it been a silent ban, a la the rumors of silent bans in earlier eras, Lepchenko would have missed much more than two months. Sharapova missed over a year of tennis, a silent ban for the same offense wouldn't be 6-8 weeks, it would be of comparable length.

Furthermore, Sharapova had the option to silently go along with a provisional suspension until her case was heard, but elected (catastrophically) to try and get ahead of the story with the now-infamous press conference. Sharapova was not obliged to make a statement on the matter at any point, but rather wanted to control the narrative before leaks happened and failed to control the narrative in any helpful way.

Like a number of athletes, including another tennis player, Lepchenko's defense was the meldonium she tested positive was traces from ingesting the drug before it was banned. Sharapova did not use that defense, probably because she (and her team) was aware that the dates she had taken meldonium would result in concentrations too high to pretend she'd taken it prior to Jan. 1st. Instead, they went for the combination of family diabetes and Max Eisenbud is terrible at his job. Both those excuses were not ruled valid.

And the information ascribed to Lepchenko's father should be taken with a serious grain of salt, since the quotes came from Sharapova's former physiotherapist himself paraphrasing Lepchenko's father, with no specificity of nuance about provisional suspension, etc. It's even less of a reliable source than hear-say. The fact the report came from Russian media alone should raise eyebrows: Russian propaganda and Russian-nationalist hackers were doing all kinds of things in the aftermath of both their Olympic ban and the meldonium scandal to cast aspersions on non-Russian WADA information.

2. USADA isn't the body that tested Sharapova or Lepchenko and thus wouldn't have the ability to shield Lepchenko. For starters, the other tennis player exonerated from a meldonium positive test was a Belarussian ATP player (Sergey Betov), so nationality is clearly not the factor. Additionally, whether USADA has ever shielded an athlete since the 1980s or early 1990s is up for debate, but certainly in recent years has declined to shield far more high-profile Americans than Varvara Lepchenko (see Brianna Rollins, Olympic gold medalist, whose year-long ban for three missed doping tests was entirely a USADA matter, and took place the same year as the meldonium bans).
 

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The United States has done a lot to expose the famous cyclist Armstrong and other famous American athletes. Why would the US suddenly defend Lepchenko, who won nothing and recently became a US citizen?
That's not exactly true. It took a lot of mounting evidence and exposure from non-American media and finally the turning of some of his inner circle to expose him.

USADA didn't develop a good reputation in combating doping until after Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong were personally disgraced and effectively destroyed the international reputation of Americans in their respective sports. Although in USADA's defense, the way cycling and track-and-field/athletics operate with training groups and closed circles of teammates/coaches/medical professionals, both are much more susceptible to complex and effective doping scams.
 

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Where on earth did you dream this up? Here's an extract from the Executive Summary of Sharapova's own Statement of Facts to the CAS for her appeal:

1.3 Before she began taking Magnerot, Mildronate, and Riboxin on her doctor’s advice, Maria took all precautions necessary to ensure that their use was permitted under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the “TADP”). In particular, Maria – through her team – received written assurances from a WADA-accredited laboratory that Magnerot, Mildronate, and Riboxin were safe to use. Only then did Maria begin using these products.

That in no way constitutes any authority or approval from WADA to use Meldonium (the active ingredient in Mildronate). The ITF Tribunal which heard the original case stated:

If she had not concealed her use of Mildronate from the anti-doping authorities, members of her own support team and the doctors whom she consulted, but had sought advice, then the contravention would have been avoided.
Okay, you lost me here.
Isn't Mildronate merely a different name for Meldonium as it is known for in eastern Europe?
 

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Maria is old news.

If she is still relevant, may be this thread will cease to exist once we have a Maria interview where she say: "It's been 84 years I retired from tennis, my heart is still beating"
 

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This will be my last reply to you since I do not wish to entertain this endless waste of time.

Of course Sharapova was sure she would not be punished, she had written approval by WADA for her use of Meldonium for the course of her career.
I don’t know what Sharapova received from WADA, but CAS almost completely changed the ITF’s decision, portraying Sharapova as a victim of circumstances. CAS did as Sharapova and her lawyers wanted, very much strange.
 

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No - read what I wrote. Meldonium is the active ingredient in Mildronate.
I never heard that described that way before. Mildronate is the trade name for Meldonium. They are exactly the same substances which explains why Sharapova took WADA's written approval for her declared list of medications, which included Mildronate, as clearance for her to continue taking it for a decade.
 

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CAS almost completely changed the ITF’s decision, portraying Sharapova as a victim of circumstances. CAS did as Sharapova and her lawyers wanted, very much strange.
Not really, though. CAS ruled that the rule violation was with no significant fault, but that "she bore some degree of fault." The CAS very explicitly did not rule at all on whether or not her use of meldonium prior to January 2016 was legitimate or not:

"The Panel wishes to point out that the case it heard, and the award it has rendered, was only about the degree of fault that can be imputed to the player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product that she had been taking over a long period remained in compliance with the anti-doping rules."

None of that reverses what the ITF Panel said regarding her concealing the use of the substance. In fact, the CAS specifically and by name distinguished the Sharapova case from an earlier case in which a suspension was cut shorter than Sharapova's due to a player listing a newly-banned substance on his control forms long in advance of the ban.

Sharapova's PR and legal team (and legal team's PR) did a good job convincing people the reduction was a huge victory, but it really wasn't much of a victory. The Court very clearly ascribed more than half of the blame to Sharapova, and did not specifically ascribe blame to any other body.
 

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Not really, though. CAS ruled that the rule violation was with no significant fault, but that "she bore some degree of fault." The CAS very explicitly did not rule at all on whether or not her use of meldonium prior to January 2016 was legitimate or not:

"The Panel wishes to point out that the case it heard, and the award it has rendered, was only about the degree of fault that can be imputed to the player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product that she had been taking over a long period remained in compliance with the anti-doping rules."
It continued as follows: "No question of intent to violate the TADP of WADC was before this Panel: under no circumstances, therefore, can the Player be considered to be an intentional doper."
 

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I never heard that described that way before.
Then you must be the only person interested in this case NOT to have heard it. Mildronate doesn't just include meldonium, because it's not like you can drink or eat it raw. Other ingredients are included to make it palatable - that's why it comes in pill form.

Mildronate is the trade name for Meldonium. They are exactly the same substances which explains why Sharapova took WADA's written approval for her declared list of medications, which included Mildronate, as clearance for her to continue taking it for a decade.
Are you being deliberately dense?

1. Sharapova NEVER had written approval for her declared list of medications. What she did have was written confirmation that the three items which Dr Skalny had prescribed were safe to use. That's a huge difference.

2. Sharapova NEVER declared to the ITF/TIU that she was taking Mildronate, so how could they possibly "clear" her to continue taking it?
 

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Sharapova's PR and legal team (and legal team's PR) did a good job convincing people the reduction was a huge victory, but it really wasn't much of a victory. The Court very clearly ascribed more than half of the blame to Sharapova, and did not specifically ascribe blame to any other body.
CAS did everything to actually justify Sharapov, changed ITF’s decision, made her guilt insignificant. I think this is wrong, it does not comply with sporting principles.
 

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Are you being deliberately dense?

1. Sharapova NEVER had written approval for her declared list of medications. What she did have was written confirmation that the three items which Dr Skalny had prescribed were safe to use. That's a huge difference.

2. Sharapova NEVER declared to the ITF/TIU that she was taking Mildronate, so how could they possibly "clear" her to continue taking it?
1. They were written approvals by WADA-accredited lab declaring her medications, including Mildronate, were permissible.

2. She didn't write Mildronate on the form because she didn't take it every day.
 

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Maria is old news.

If she is still relevant, may be this thread will cease to exist once we have a Maria interview where she say: "It's been 84 years I retired from tennis, my heart is still beating"
This. I’m amazed people are still debating this. Given tennis is currently non-existent and Maria has retired, what happened is now history which most people outside this forum has no relevance whatsoever! Once (if) tennis comes back and becomes vaguely relevant again, the Sharapova story will be lost in the mists of time.
 

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1. They were written approvals by WADA-accredited lab declaring her medications, including Mildronate, were permissible.
Which is what Sharapova said, and what I said!!!!! It was NOT an approval to keep using them for 10 years without declaring their use.

2. She didn't write Mildronate on the form because she didn't take it every day.
She took it most days, and she took it before nearly every match she ever played. It's not the ITF's fault that Sharapova couldn't read the instructions written on the damned form!
 
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