So, what is this Melodonium? Learning from the blogosphere


Updated March 7, 2016

The Melodonium story grows, and grows.

Until this morning, Ethiopian distance runners were those mostly accused of using Melodonium.

However, thanks to Maria Sharapova, everyone knows about melodonium now. Maria Sharapova held a press conference today and admitted to testing positive for Melodonium. She said she had been taking it for ten years, and did not notice that WADA had put it on list to be banned January 1, 2016 in September 2015. She took full responsibility, which is unusual in itself. She has not suggested that little green men had tainted her toothpaste. Nope, she took the hit.

Also, it should be noted that WADA had found traces of Melodonium in 182 samples out of 8,320 in a recent study. In the ARD-TV broadcast, on March 6, 2016, a study of Russian athletes in 2015 found 724 of the 4,316 Russian athletes tested had traces of melodonium, so one in five Russian athletes tested were found to have melodonium. The attractive Russian tennis player also is a wonderful example of the double standards in our sports. With Russians using it and Ethiopians using it, the crud level was pretty high. When a beautiful Russian tennis player admits to taking it, media sources are wonderfully diffident on her activity.

The Latvian who invented Melodonium told the press yesterday that his drug could not help athletes. Au contraire. It has been helping some for a decade.

Nike responded quickly to the Sharipova anouncement: they suspended her from her contract, worth $70 million over seven years.

That changes the old financial situation.

Melodonium is the drug that several Ethiopians are accused of using. It seems to be one of the drugs of choice right now (also known as Mildronate). While it has great uses for those with heart conditions, those same benefits can help in the training of distance events. WADA has been looking at it for two years now, and found 182 samples of melodonium in 8320 samples tested over the past two years. Someone is using it.


The fine piece I have linked to, from Jake G. Shelley, should scare the living hell out of you.

Thumbnail image for AregawiLedsSimpson1c-Moscow13.jpgAbega Aregawi, photo by

It seems that the drugs came to Ethiopia courtesy of several Ukranian doctors. We should be hearing several other names over the next couple of weeks.

WADA has the wherewithal to catch many drug cheats, however, here is the big IF. Until the IOC puts real money into WADA, and just bans the nine or ten major countries who are systematically cheating, we will have issues. And this is not just in athletics.

When the cheaters are better funded that WADA, I am not sure what people expect. I can tell you this, each group that has been caught, the IAAF has been after.

A final thought. I was asked by one reporter if the women's 1,500 meters has surpassed the 100 meters as the dirtiest event in our sport. I did not know what to say.

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