Maria Sharapova, Sports Scandals

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It's a sad day for tennis.

Maria Sharapova received a two-year ban from the International Tennis Federation Wednesday after the organization after she tested positive for the banned drug meldonium. The Russian star athlete, 29, called the punishment "unfairly harsh" upon hearing that her punishment would be backdated to Jan. 26, 2016, meaning her Australian Open prize money would be reneged.

Sharapova has been taking Mildronate since 2006 to help manage her diabetes and claims she didn't know that she was violating the organization's anti-doping code. Meldonium is a component of Mildronate. "The ITF spent tremendous amounts of time and resources trying to prove I intentionally violated the anti-doping rules and the tribunal concluded I did not," she wrote on Facebook.

"While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension." 

Unfortunately, Sharapova isn't the first athlete to be taken out of a sport for doping. Other sports stars, from baseball to cycling, have been suspended or banned from their respective games. Here are eight more: 

Lance Armstrong, Sports Scandals

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1. Lance Armstrong: After denying drug use allegations for years, the famed cyclist finally admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. He was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and Olympic bronze medal. Armstrong was also hit with a lifetime ban from cycling.

Michael Phelps, Sports Scandals

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2. Michael Phelps: USA Swimming suspended the star athlete after he was charged with a DUI in Maryland in 2014. Before that in 2009, Phelps was suspended for three months after a picture surfaced that showed him allegedly using illegal drugs. He later apologized for his behavior and admitted to using "bad judgment."

Barry Bonds, Sports Scandals

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3. Barry Bonds: Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams' book, Game of Shadows, claimed the famed baseball player turned to performance-enhancing drugs for a late-career boost. The authors were the same investigative reporters to break the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (Balco) story, in which the company was found to be distributing performance-enhancing drugs to some of the biggest names in sports. Bonds claimed he didn't know what he was taking at the time, but the book said he was using several different boosters.

Marion Jones, Sports Scandals

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4. Marion Jones: After her former world champion husband C.J. Hunter, who was also involved with Balco, was caught using performance-enhancing drugs, Jones found herself getting scrutinized. The track and field star vehemently denied the accusations and found herself having to refute them again when Tim Montgomery, an American sprinter found guilty of drug use, was disgraced. In 2007 Jones came clean and admitted she lied to federal agents about her performance-enhancing drug use. She had to give back her five Olympic medals and officially retired from the sport.

Alex Rodriguez, Sports Scandals

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5. Alex Rodriguez: For nearly two years A-Rod denied using banned substances from Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in Miami. But during a sworn interview with the DEA, Rodriguez confessed to buying performance-enhancing drugs from a fake doctor at Biogenesis. He was suspended from Major League Baseball for 162 games. He later pulled a 180 and denied the claims.

Tyson Gay, Sports Scandals

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6. Tyson Gay: The American sprinter was banned for a year and had to forfeit his Olympic silver medal after testing positive for anabolic steroids in 2013. Originally Gay received a two-year ban but the sentence was reduced after he provided "substantial assistance" to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

LaShawn Merritt , Sports Scandals


7. LaShawn Merritt: In April 2010 it was revealed that the track and field star failed three drug tests. He blamed them on his use of an over-the-counter penis enhancement medication called ExtenZe. Merritt claimed he didn't read the fine print or ingredients and failed to realize the drug contained a banned steroid. The runner accepted a two-year band and apologized for making a "foolish, immature and egotistical mistake."

Justin Gatlin, Sports Scandals


8. Justin Gatlin: In July 2006, the sprinter received an eight-year ban from the sport after testing positive for testosterone. He denied using any performance-enhancing drugs, but agreed to the eight years to avoid a potential lifetime ban from track and field. The following year his sentence was reduced to four years.

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