The last thing I did last night was watch Maria Sharapova's press conference. Of course, by then, I knew the gist -- that she had failed a drug test in Australia -- but I wanted to see what she had to say and how she said it. I forgot my pen and pad to take notes, so instead I sent myself emails with the questions I had in the subject line. Here they are:
12:57 a.m.: Remember to compare effects of Sharap drug to steroids
Looks like a few people have considered this one already. Duh. Based on what I've read so far, it looks like mildronate is taken by athletes to increase blood flow, which gives you the ability to work out more, gives you endurance. According to online medical guru WebMD:
Anabolic steroids are used to build up muscle. Corticosteroids are used to dampen overactive immune responses and reduce swelling.
1:04 a.m.: What are today's athletes on anyway?
There are a certified megaton of various vitamins and supplements out there, and sure, it makes sense that athletes have doctors who keep them informed about anything that could give them an edge. If it was so hard for Sharapova to realize a drug she was taking had been banned, was it because she takes so many meds that it was hard to keep track? Are the bodies of all modern athletes manufactured somehow?
1:05 a.m.: Why does Sharapova get special drugs for flu and I don't?
I suppose this one could have been bitterness talking. In the presser, Sharapova said her family doctor prescribed mildronate because she was getting sick a lot, and because of a family history of diabetes. I've read a few descriptions and listings for this drug so far, and I haven't seen anything about beating back the flu or diabetes with it. You can buy it online, although it isn't approved by the USDA. (Which is a little surprising to me. Have you seen the drug commercials on American television? The stuff they give you for minor maladies can have side effects such as depression and sleep deprivation. So this mildronate stuff must be pretty bad. Or no one here has figured out how to make money on it yet.) One listing someone tweeted yesterday actually suggests a dosage for athletes.
Some people, including Sharapova, have cast this as an innocent mistake -- she failed to look at the updated list of banned drugs, and so, apparently, did her highly paid training team. I buy that because it doesn't seem to me that you would continue to take a banned substance with no fear of a failed test. What I don't buy is that this is some supplement that she took to ward off illness. She took it to get an edge. On its face, that sounds really bad, and it is.
But again, are all our athletes manufactured now?