Tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted to failing a drug test for meldonium, but she is far from the only athlete to fail a drug test for that substance. At least 60 athletes have tested positive for the substance just this year. You are not alone, Sharapova!
“Regarding the number of Meldonium positives, I can tell you that it was at 60 adverse analytical findings (since January 1st) recorded on Monday and that number is growing,” Ben Nichols, a spokesman for the World Anti-Doping Agency, said in a report published Thursday by the New York Times. Sharapova is one of the only athletes to have her failed drug test for meldonium made public, which she did on her own, and she is certainly the most notable of the athletes to fail a drug test. She is also not the only Russian to fail a test. Speedskater Pavel Kulizhnikov is another.
The number of athletes testing positive for meldonium is hardly shocking to those monitoring the drug tests. This tends to be the case any time a new drug is added to a list of prohibited substances. Sharapova claims she saw the memo about the update to the banned substance list but failed to review the contents of the list. Odds are she is not alone in failing to read the provided updates carefully.
“I don’t know if you can say what any main reason is,” David Howman, director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said. “We’ve got to wait for the cases to run their course and see what athletes are saying, and you’ve got to give them the opportunity of being heard, and I think we stand by that process.”
The WADA will keep a close eye on the future failed tests for meldonium, and hopefully that number will go down as more and more athletes are made more aware of the updated banned substance list. At this point, there are no more excuses to be made for failing a drug test given the number of failed tests since the start of the new year.