Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Drugs and sports

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I’m not much of a sports fan, and I’m not following the Olympics, but I was intrigued about the pervasiveness of drug use to augment performance. Apparently, it’s universal. That makes sports even less interesting (if possible). Arthur Allen has a report in the Washington Independent. It begins:

When Mike, Chris and Mark Bell, were striving to become champion iron pumpers in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the brothers never dreamed that Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hulk Hogan and their other idols were juiced. Steroids were for commies –like Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV. Rocky himself was clean and sober. He chopped wood to get buff.

But, as they got older, the Bells learned the dirty little secret: their heroes were on ‘roids. The Bells would have to take them too, if they wanted to compete. Years later, Mark—who went by “Mad Dog” when he wrestled for World Wresting Entertainment, the WWE, and “Smelly” Mike – who can bench press 700 pounds– are still using the stuff.

Chris, the middle brother, tried steroids for a few months, stopped and decided to make a movie about them instead. His documentary film, “Bigger, Stronger, Faster: The Side Effects of Being American,” is a hilarious, poignant and thought-provoking look at the hypocritical culture of competition.

“I was brought up to believe that cheaters never prosper,” he narrates, over footage of President George W. Bush speaking against steroid use — though his Texas Rangers used them. “But in America, they always prosper.”

With the Olympics beginning Friday and millions of kids primed to watch their U.S. heroes compete with the world, Bell sadly reflected on what he learned about the clandestine doping that goes on beyond the noble striving for national glory. Bell, 35, spent three years working on the film, which incorporates dozens of interviews and other footage.

“I used to think the Olympics had the best drug testing, but it’s a big façade,” he said in a phone interview. The Balco scandal — in which a San Francisco steroid producer provided hundreds of baseball players with hard-to-trace steroid shots — revealed some of the tricks that trainers use to evade testing. Olympic committees have done little to keep pace with the cheaters, Bell said. “You can skirt the rules on hormones. There’s no test for human-growth hormone. There’s an improved test for Epo [which increases oxygen in the blood], but it won’t be ready for the Olympics.”

“I don’t want to be one of those conspiracy-theory guys, but there are a lot of people juicing,” he said. “You’re never going to have a 100-percent clean Olympics. It’s sad. Kids look up to these people.”

News accounts indicate a certain vigilance against doping Olympic athletes. But the history of such scandals, Bell suggests, is that only the unlucky get caught. During the 1988 games, Jamaican sprinter Ben Johnson lost his gold medal in the 100 meters for steroid use. Carl Lewis, to whom the gold was awarded, had also tested for banned substances in his blood during training. Rather than disqualify him, according to Bell’s well-documented account, the U.S. Olympic Committee changed the rules.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 August 2008 at 7:30 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Tagged with ,

One Response

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    Here is a story (aug 15 2008) where one of Chris Bell’s subjects from the ’88 olympics who has excepted his responsibility for doping, but this now sheds a new light on what else these young and naive athletes are subject to.

    Some dope willingly, some dope by influence and pressure to win and unfortunately are cash cows by greedy handlers.

    The Olympics exposes lots of nasty things…and Chris Bell in his documentary presents points very well and leaves the audience asking alot of questions and looking at doping in sports differently.



    15 August 2008 at 1:19 pm

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