This prior weekend the 2016 Wimbledon Championships had come to an end, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are right around the corner. For many tennis stars, it is a dream to compete in these two events, but for the 29-year-old Russian tennis pro Maria Sharapova, her dreams were put on hold. In January, Sharapova was penalized at the Australian Open when meldonium, a drug banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, showed up as positive on her drug screening.
The previously ranked No.1 tennis champion was sentenced to a two year ban from participating in any competitions. Sharapova allegedly had no prior knowledge to the ban made on meldonium, as it had only been outlawed January 1, 2016, the same month her test came back positive for the drug. The tennis star has also been prescribed meldonium in the past for a medical condition. Although Sharapova takes full responsibility for the unfortunate occurrence, she did appeal her two-year ban.
The decision on Sharapova’s appeal was set to be made on July 18, 2016, but according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the ruling has been pushed back to September 19, 2016; certifying her ineligibility for competing in the 2016 Olympics. If the two-year ban is not lifted upon verdict of the appeal, Sharapova will be restricted from eight Grand Slam tournaments in addition to being barred from the Summer Olympics.
This is delicate news for Sharapova, who has holds five Grand Slam champion titles, but the tennis star has been keeping busy and maintaining a positive mindset while she awaits her trial. There have been countless drug stories and addiction stories that have ended poorly or on a sad note, but there have also been stories that had a happy ending.
Although Sharapova’s story has not reached its conclusion, her current circumstance can be classified under stories of hope in a drug situation. This past June, Sharapova was accepted into a summer program at Harvard Business School where she will take two classes. Sharapova shared a photo on social media of her next to the Harvard sign looking enthusiastic and excited to embark on this new and rare journey. Despite not being able to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and could potentially be banned from all tournaments up until January 25, 2018, Sharapova is excited for the bright future that lies ahead and the advantages she will gain from this experience.
Although Maria Sharapova may not have been a victim of addiction, she still illegally abused a substance that athletes are banned from using. This is a regrettable life event for Sharapova, but she is fortunate that her case of abuse was mild rather than severe. Many drug addiction stories and stories of substance abuse are acute, and do not always have a positive outcome. Treatment for substance abuse and addiction is incredibly important, and finding a way to stay hopeful during recovery plays a significant role in the effectiveness of treatment and having success in long-term sobriety. If you or someone you love suffers from the disease of drug or alcohol addiction, speak with an addiction specialist to learn more about the treatment options available. Drug addiction stories can have a positive ending; there is hope in recovery.
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