Tennis star’s positive doping test comes as a real shock.
I guess I kinda sorta feel bad for Maria Sharapova. She has been a pleasure to watch on the court for a number of years now—eleven, I think—ever since first showing up and taking Wimbledon at age 17. Since then, she’s had injuries, as tall athletes tend to, that have sidelined her from time to time—and in the past couple of years she’s been completely stymied by Serena Williams. Still, she’s played consistently high level tennis for most of her career, and won her share, almost, of grand slams.
So today’s acknowledgement that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open, and is being “suspended” by tennis authorities, did come as a shock. While a gritty competitor, she has tried to maintain a positive public persona, which has largely worked, since she’s been the world’s highest paid female athlete for several years now. Now, though, sponsors are now dropping her like a hot potato. So you have to wonder who dropped the ball here.
Yes, she took the drug for a number of years—ten, in fact—and the drug in question, called meldonium, was only added to banned list in January. Well, ok. But this is the world’s highest paid female athlete, who made something like $30 million in 2015 alone, who didn’t read the email that she got last fall that announced that the doping agency was going to ban meldonium, starting January 2016. OK, I guess, on that one too. She’s a busy lady. And she’s Russian, where athletes have a pretty casual approach to ingesting just about anything that could be termed “performance enhancing.”
Here’s what I don’t get. This drug had been legal, and then it wasn’t. OK, that I get. What I don’t get is that THE WORLD’S HIGHEST PAID FEMALE ATHLETE APPARENTLY DOESN’T HAVE SOMEONE ON HER PRESUMABLY WELL-PAID STAFF TO KEEP AN EYE ON THE DRUGS THAT SHE’S TAKING JUST IN CASE ONE OF THEM WAS GOING TO BE BANNED. Really? No one at all saw this one coming? Jeez.
The above stamp showing Sharapova and some other tennis worthies is from Niger. I couldn’t possibly tell you why.