Grigory Tarasevich Issues Statement Post-Positive Meldonium Test

As reported earlier today, Russian backstroker Grigory Tarasevich has tested positive for meldonium, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced.

According to the USADA, 20-year-old Tarasevich, who swims stateside for the University of Louisville and will be representing Russia in Rio, tested positive via an in-competition urine sample he provided on March 4th of this year, as well as via an out-of-competition urine sample taken on March 29th. The former sample was collected at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Orlando, where Tarasevich claimed 2nd in the men’s 100m backstroke (53.84) and 3rd in the 200m backstroke (1:58.04). Those medals are now forfeited, per the USADA.

In response to our report, a spokeswoman for the University of Louisville has provided a statement from Tarasevich, whose intent, in his own words, is to ‘clarify the circumstances of his positive drug test in March 0f 2016.’ Additionally, the spokeswoman has conveyed that Tarasevich has tested negative for prohibited substances, including meldonium, in three subsequent tests administered by both WADA and FINA after the positive March test.

Below is Tarasevich’s statement as provided:

I wish to use this statement to clarify the circumstances of my positive drug test in March of 2016, when trace amounts of meldonium were detected. I took it three times in 2015, the last being Oct. 11, as prescribed by a doctor from the Siberian Olympic Reserve with permission from my personal coach, who is also my father. The substance was not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) or the NCAA when I took it. When I found out it was being added to the prohibited substance list by the WADA in January of 2016, I stopped taking it immediately. I have since tested negative in three tests in April and May administered by FINA and United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). WADA still has not established how long meldonium stays in an athlete’s system and the NCAA has not added it to its list of performance enhancing drugs. The literature on meldonium cited it as being effective in the prevention of cardiovascular system diseases during periods of intensive training and according to supplement instructions and to “use during physical and mental strain”. I am accepting my sanction and focusing on training for the Rio Olympics as well as looking forward to my senior season as a Cardinal. I deeply respect the sport of swimming and I wish to represent my country and my school as the best possible example of hard work, training and competitive spirit.

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7 years ago

While it appears that Grigory has followed the letter of the law, he doesn’t appear to have followed the spirit of it. The fact of the matter is there are very specific reasons to take Meldonium and “prevention of cardiovascular system diseases during periods of intensive training and according to supplement instructions and to ‘use during physical and mental strain'” is not one of them.
From wikipedia, “Meldonium may be used to treat coronary artery disease.[4][5] These heart problems may sometimes lead to ischemia, a condition where too little blood flows to the organs in the body, especially the heart. Because this drug is thought to expand the arteries, it helps to increase the blood flow as well as… Read more »

Andrei Vorontsov
Reply to  goalrilla
7 years ago

LEWIS: “Who cares I fail drug test?” – an article in “The Guardian”, Thursday 24 April 2003. Very interesting reading on massive use of steroids by USA track-and-field and other sports athletes in preparations towards Seul Olympic Games 1988. Carl Lewis said he was just ONE OF HUNDREDS. PED in sport are not only and purely the Russian problem…

Reply to  Andrei Vorontsov
7 years ago

Meldonium in particular does appear to exclusively be a Russian and former USSR state issue though.

Andrei Vorontsov
7 years ago

(My apologies to moderator, this my message appeared on the wrong page. It should be published here!)

My Friends it is not so simple. Do not hurry to blame people for medonium use. Out of 150-160 positives there were only 47 Russians. Now we even have the best USA volleyball player performing for Russian club, who was positive for M.

PLS, ANSWER TO YOURSELF (for me it is cry

Does Creatine loading technique enhance sport results in sprint events (and not only in sprint)?
YES IT DOES! THERE ARE HUNDREDS IF NOT THOUSANDS ACADEMIC STUDIES THAT PROVE IT. You can find in in Internet very rapidly (in 5 minutes time) dozens of articles… Read more »

Reply to  Andrei Vorontsov
7 years ago

I brought up the baking soda (bicarbonate) issue recently as well, as a question on where to draw the line on substances taken exclusively to enhance performance. I think there is more data backing baking soda than meldonium as far as improving athletic performance, yet it is still legal to take in vast quantities that far exceed any reasonable diet.

I think the question is one of availability and safety. Taking some baking soda once in a while for meets is unlikely to affect one’s health. I don’t remember reading about any side effects of meldonium, but there is also not a lot of data on long term use. I can only say baking soda is in every grocery store… Read more »

Reply to  Andrei Vorontsov
7 years ago

Andrei, more than happy to buy you a drink for your earlier comments on this web site how the corrupt doctors approached the Russian team while you were coaching- thanks for being big enough to admit.
Obviously in Russia currently, other places now and in the past doctors are being enlisted to find any possible performance enhancer- your challenge to find evidence that the heart medication is a performance enhancer makes it even funnier that why would he be taking/percribed heart medicine for no reason other than he states ‘recovery enhancer’. If it was good practice it would be in recovery drinks and coke would be all over it.
He obviously did not declare this on his TUE… Read more »

7 years ago

We don’t need Tarasevich to remind us of when WADA or USADA or FINA or the NCAA put Mildronate/meldonium on the banned list…we know when it was. His statement is puffed up, evasive damage control and the University of Louisville should be ashamed to stand party to it.

Tarasevich and his father should be grilled on their ‘intent’ in using the drug (cue a responsible WADA official)…run down the list of legitimate clinical reasons for using Mildronate/meldonium as a medication and make them answer for it:

Grigory, have you ever been diagnosed with ischemia? myocardial infarction? angina? have you had a stroke? are you guarding against cardiovascular system diseases as you referenced in your statement? are you experiencing excessive… Read more »

Reply to  Matt
7 years ago

Maybe he is an alcoholic. It is used for this also .

Tom from Chicago
7 years ago

So despite it technically being legal in 2015, you took it because you have congestive heart disease?

7 years ago

So smoking cigarettes and hard training both can lead to cardiovascular disease? Wow.

7 years ago

Reading this “clarification” of his, I must say that Tarasevich comes across as a schoolboy reading a note from his parents. Pathetic.

7 years ago

“A doctor from the Siberian Olympic Reserve” prescribed the supplement explicitly to help “intense training”.

Do other Olympic federations have doctors who specifically say “hey, take this script to help you perform better”? I understand Olympic federations having doctors as part of their team to make sure health is kept up from illness, etc, but do they all act in the same way re: specifically training “better” (assuming health is already ok)? Serious/naive question….

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
7 years ago

Another question is – why would a Russian athlete be getting medical advices from a doctor (Serbian Olympic Reserve) of another country where he was not related to or trained in?

Reply to  spectatorn
7 years ago

Siberian, not Serbian. Siberia is a part of Russia FYI, like Texas in the USA.

7 years ago

So confused. Didn’t good guys already lose the meldonium argument? Q1 to USADA…If WADA allows trace amounts of meldonium post Jan 1, why pick on a little fish (ok, medium sized fish) where this will likely lose once appealed? Q2 to NCAA. Why isn’t Meldonium on banned list yet? Q3 to NCAA/Lousville, Was this guy subject to any doping tests while during the swim season? How often are your swimmers tested out of competition? Are Foreign athletes tested as often as they would be for the 8 months or so they’re competing in the USA as they would be back in their home countries? Q4 to USA swimming. Will you redistributing any prize money from PSS Orlando he may have… Read more »

Reply to  Marley09
7 years ago

When did his father join the staff at Lousiville ? That’s such a crock.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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