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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blah blah blah blah


I have nothing against Mr. Tarasevich, but in my opinion taking a prescription heart medication to help your training when you don’t have a heart condition, whether it is a banned substance or not, is cheating, pure and simple. I can not imagine encouraging my SON, whether I was coaching him or not, to take a serious medication like that for an off-label purpose! Aren’t parents supposed to consider their child’s health more important than their swimming times?!


He’s an adult, I doubt his parents have a say in what he takes and they shouldn’t. And it’s not that simple because the substance wasn’t banned. He didn’t take it when it was banned. WADA doesn’t know how long meldonium stays in your system. Which doesn’t matter because they extended the grace period anyway. According to the rules he did not cheat. He shouldn’t be punished, obviously.


Markster, I know Mr. Tarasevich didn’t technically break the rules because Meldonium wasn’t on the banned list; I said IN MY OPINION taking a performance enhancing drug, as he did, is cheating. There’s a difference. And although Mr. Tarasevich is an adult (if you don’t consider 21 the age one becomes an adult), he says in his statement that his father DID have a say in whether or not he took the drug. Again, IN MY OPINION, his father does not have his priorities in order.


It is worth noting that meldonium is not a prescription medication. Apparently, it is available over the counter in eastern Europe (someone posted a link to an article about how sales of meldonium have spiked drastically since it got so much press from the Sharapova/Efimova scandals).


Isn’t the definition of a “prescription medication” a medication prescribed by a doctor? Mr. Tarasevich says in his statement that a doctor prescribed the medication for him, so whether or not it is available over-the-counter in some countries it was prescribed to Mr. Tarasevich by a doctor, and according to the information in this article it was prescribed to enhance his training; thus, in this case, a doctor prescribed a performance enhancing drug for this athlete.


I have prescription acetaminophen, melatonin, and even multi-vitamin and fish oil because my doctor is cool and it’s all free with my insurance. Would I be cheating?


Why is everybody having such difficulty with reading comprehension tonight? I didn’t say taking prescription medications is cheating, I said in my opinion taking prescription medications specifically for purposes of performance enhancement is cheating. There are countries in the world where you can buy testosterone without a prescription too, does that mean athletes should be allowed to take it to improve their training?

PMD, are you seriously saying that taking acetaminophen, melatonin, etc. is equivalent to taking meldonium?

Apparently there are a number of people here who think it’s OK for athletes to take performance enhancing drugs here on SwimSwam. I respect your right to an opinion, even if it differs from my own.


Based on your original usage of “prescription heart medication,” I disagree with that definition. I would say that a prescription medication is a medication that requires a prescription from a doctor to obtain, rather than anything a doctor prescribes. I recently had a doctor prescribe ibuprofen and rest for one of my swimmers, but even though they are both prescribed by a doctor I don’t think I would call either of them prescription-grade. I feel that saying “prescription + medication = prescription medication” would be akin to saying “2 + 3 = 23.”


Sven, based upon YOUR argument that a medication is not a “prescription medication” if you can buy it over-the-counter in some countries, many drugs that are on the WADA banned substance list are not prescription medications. Are you implying that it is less serious/dangerous for people to take them just because other countries in the world have less strict control over the distribution of drugs than the US?


Please let me know where I stated any opinion on this beyond the fact that meldonium is OTC and thus not a prescription medication. It was a minor correction that I don’t think challenges your point at all, so I’m not sure why you seem to be so combative over this. In the future, I advise you to read my posts more carefully before automatically going on the defensive and accusing me of trying to justify doping.


So just because meldonium can be bought OTC in some Eastern European country with poor drug control laws you thought it was semantically incorrect for me to refer to it as a prescription medication? Your initial reply clearly implies that you think Mr. Tarasevich taking meldonium was less serious/dangerous because it can be bought OTC somewhere. Read it more carefully yourself! If you don’t even disagree with my point, your reply to my comment was just irritating and argumentative for the sake of being argumentative. I advise YOU not to reply to comments people make if you don’t want to get into discussions with them or have to defend your own statements.


My initial reply does not imply anything except that meldonium can be bought over the counter. I believe that if we’re going to have conversations about doping, we need to make sure we are clear on the facts, because you are correct that there are people who will use semantics to say meldonium use is justified. You’ve seen me comment on here before, you know I can be very verbose in my replies, and that I’m not afraid to tell people when I think they are wrong in lengthy, multi-paragraph replies. If I wanted to argue with you about the seriousness of the misuse of meldonium, I’d have done so directly. I am done replying on this article.


You’ve seen me comment on this website before too, and YOU know I am not afraid to defend comments that I make when I feel strongly about them and I don’t believe I have been incorrect, as is the case in this instance.


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 »


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

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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