Steroids In Sports Are Here To Stay!
In 1995 a Chicago physician, Bob Goldman, asked 198 Olympic-level U.S. athletes whether they would be willing to take a banned substance if they were guaranteed to win and not get caught; 195 said yes. More than half of them went on to say that they would take the drug if it would enable them to win every competition for five years even if it would kill them.
As alarming as it may sound, it’s the truth and for all the hue and cry about the need to clean up the sporting arena of illegal drug use, it is really all a flimsy façade and one that has support from the highest levels downwards.
Take competitive bodybuilding for example, few people in the general public know that there are two completely different types of bodybuilding, drug tested contests- where the athletes are given either a polygraph test or their urine is tested to ensure that they are not using anabolic steroids and a list of other banned substances. Most of you probably have never seen a natural bodybuilder (besides me!) or even knew that there is a difference. (As an aside: Many make the mistake of seeing me and wondering whether or not I use drugs, but truth be told if you saw me standing next to a modern professional drug using bodybuilder there would be little question, since I would look like a anorexic girl in spite of all my 20 years of hard training and my accomplishmentes as a natural athlete!)
Steroids In Sports: The Public Side Of Steroid Use- Professional Bodybuilding
Yes, there is another other side of the coin, and the more popular version by far are the non drug tested shows. It might surprise you to learn that these are the bodybuilders that grace the covers of the muscle magazines (natural bodybuilding has its own magazine as well, but its readership is negligible when compared to the millions of reader of their drug using counterparts). The bodybuilders you occasionally see on television use steroids, as do the ones that cross over to the film industry- a certain California governor included.
These images of men and women inflated to almost comic book like proportions are what most people think of when they hear the word ‘bodybuilder’. Sadly for women in general, female drug bodybuilding, which essentially will masculinize the bodies of women using steroids has made most women shy away from the idea of lifting weights, as the misconception is there that they will end up looking like some of the girls with masculine features. This isn’t true, but since there is no real movement to define to the general public what a drug user looks like and what a natural athlete looks like, it is hard for them to think any other way.
Now some may say that steroids are harmless when taken in moderate doses over a short period of time, but the fact of the matter is that to attain the size and definition required to stand on a national stage as a competitive male bodybuilder, you will need to use a combination of several different anabolic steroids, in addition to human growth hormone, insulin (yes, that’s right, insulin is major part of the bodybuilder chemistry set) and diuretics. In the good Governor’s time, steroid use was rampant as well, but the doses were lower and even then the amounts that they used to look the way they did would be considered insane by clinical standards. As time went on, more and more athletes tried to push the envelope of inhuman size and definition and so more and more drugs kept being added to the cocktail.
Steroids In Sports- Professional Athlete or Professional Drug User?
Today’s professional bodybuilder can spend anywhere from $30,000 to as much as $100,000 or more to look the way they do. They don’t follow pristine diets and try to live as in as healthy a manner as possible, that is a myth that is used to sell magazines and questionable supplements, the bottom line is getting as big and as fat free as possible. Nothing else matters and to be honest, most of them eat no different from the way the general public does in terms of junk food and the like in the offseason.
Is it glamorous? Yes and no. The fan base, (small though it may be as the male athletes are now far too big to appeal to the tastes of most people in the general public and the female athletes are simply too scary for mainstream media to even look at) does exist and if you are at the very top of the sport you may be able to make some money from endorsements and guest appearances but there is a downside. At those doses, your life is pretty much centered around eating, sleeping and training and there is really no way for you to do the things that most people do. Climbing a flight of stairs at over 300lbs isn’t easy when nature would have had you at 175 lbs and I can tell you from personal experience as one that has worked with many of them, that the experience is pure misery.
From abscesses, to muscle tears, to strange fevers, the pain of the site injections, loss of energy, sex drive and so much more make up the lives of many of the athletes touted by many as the ultimate in human physical perfection. The numerous trips to the E.R. as well aren’t covered in the magazines, only when one of the troupe is unfortunate enough to die as a result of their use- at which point the industry as a whole is first to say that there is no proof that their drug use caused their death. As one that has worked with addicts over the past 14 years the similarities are considerable- but at the end of the day, a professional bodybuilder today is really a professional drug user, and given the inability of so many of them to be able to stop- and the overall behavior, and culture as a whole, I would say professional addict.
Government Policy Towards Steroid In Sports
Now, what does this have to do with sports, as bodybuilding is a fringe activity at best? Simple, if the most blatant use of drugs is not stopped by either the government or the upper echelon of the sport, why would they devote their time to stopping athletes whose use is almost undetectable to the average human eye? Take baseball for example. People pay money to see athletes throw the ball faster and hit the ball harder than they ever could. Mediocrity doesn’t sell, but record breaking performance does. The same applies for everything from boxing to American football to a host of other sports. In many cases, steroids are used in small amounts to help recovery so they can train more often and get better at what they do, or to help injuries heal faster- steroids are fantastic anti-inflammatory drugs. They don’t take drugs to the degree that say the bodybuilder does, nor do they train and consume an inhuman amount of food they way a bodybuilder would, so they don’t ‘jacked up’ as one would say. The crowd loves a winner and if you recall the statement by the Olympians at the top of the post that they would use drugs if they were sure they wouldn’t get caught, what would stop the boxer, baseball player or any other sportsman from thinking the same way?
Add to it the insane amounts of many given to athletes based on their performance and I would go out on a limb and say that over 90% of every sports fan would use drugs if it would make them able to play their game better and allow them to rake in millions of dollars. Wouldn’t you at least consider it? Especially since the amounts that are used in most sports are really not that much and are under the supervision of a physician in most cases? Be honest and you will find that the immorality of steroid use that the media portrays is nothing more than typical human behaviors. The powers that be know that their athletes are using drugs, but they also know that the crowd loves what they do and that they are making them very wealthy- thus there is no real incentive to put real testing in place. When an athlete is past their prime and the government and or media is on their backs they might ‘find’ a positive test or two from some of their athletes that happen to be on their way out of the game anyway- but those tests are almost always several years old. Why the delay? I will let you figure that our yourself.
The Governor Of California Is The Main Sponsor Of The Biggest Steroid Show In The World
Getting back to bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a lot to influence so many impressionable young men to get into bodybuilding, and as they went on I the pursuit of looking like him many learned that Arnold had a little help and so got a little help of their own. Arnold Schwarzenegger almost single handedly made the steroid look publicly acceptable. He admitted his use very early on, and yet today as governor fo California and chief law enforcement officer of the state, he still sponsors and lends his name to the biggest convention of steroid users in the world, the Arnold Classic. A weekend of bodybuilding and other sports that the good Governor always attends. Do you really think that in a country where the Chief Officer of a state lends his name and image to a steroid rally that stopping drug use is a real priority. Perhaps more importantly, in a world where athletes make millions, we overlook the small detail that the team owners and sports officials that run and manage the games make billions, and that they are not going to give up their income anytime soon. Most telling is our own attitudes. We are a nation of winners, of great performers and we love our sportsmen to be the best. Add that to the thoughts of a young and upcoming teen athlete and his or her coach and you should understand that the drugs are not going anywhere unless we all change as a people.
Kevin Richardson is a lifetime drug free bodybuilder and founder of the Naturally Intense System of Diet & Exercise. You can visit his official website at www.naturallyintense.net