July 22, 2016
USADA announced today that Grigory Tarasevich, of Omsk, Russia, an athlete in the sport of swimming, has tested positive for a prohibited substance, which was determined to have been ingested by him without fault or negligence.
Tarasevich, 20, tested positive for meldonium as the result of both an in-competition urine sample he provided on March 4, 2016, at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Orlando, Florida, and an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on March 29, 2016. Meldonium is a non-specified substance that was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) Prohibited List in 2016. It is in the category of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is now prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) National Anti-Doping Policies (“USOC NADP”), and the Fédération Internationale de Natation (“FINA”) Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the WADA Code (the “Code”) and the WADA Prohibited List.
During USADA’s investigation of the case, it was discovered that a physician in Russia gave Tarasevich a prescription for meldonium in June 2015. The doctor told Tarasevich that the meldonium was to be used during periods of intensive training. Tarasevich reported using the substance in response to difficult training during three, two-week periods in 2015. The last time Tarasevich used meldonium was in early October 2015, when he learned it was going to be added to the WADA Prohibited List. WADA announced on September 29, 2015, that meldonium would become a prohibited substance in 2016.
After a thorough review of the case, USADA concluded that the extremely low meldonium concentration in the athlete’s urine sample, combined with the athlete’s explanation of use, was consistent with ingestion prior to the substance being officially prohibited on January 1, 2016. Based on the latest guidance offered by WADA on June 30, 2016, for cases involving meldonium, Tarasevich will not face a period of ineligibility.
However, Tarasevich has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on March 4, 2016, the date his first positive sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.