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.