“Steroid Abuse Among Athletes”

Steroid use has been rampant throughout the recent history of modern day athletics. In 1954, Americans learned that the success of the Soviet weightlifting team was due to their being given testosterone. John Bosley Ziegler, MD, a physician for the US weightlifting team in the 1950s and ’60s decided that US athletes needed a chemical edge to remain competitive.  Ziegler worked with the CIBA Pharmaceutical Company to develop an anabolic steroid, methandrostenolone (Dianabol), which appeared on the market in 1960.  The weight- and strength-gaining results were so impressive that steroid use quickly spread from weightlifters to other athletes. By the 1964 Olympic Games, the startling improvement in many strength athletes was impossible to ignore and it quickly followed that steroids were being extensively used by athletes in all strength sports.  By the mid-1960s, most top-ranking shot-putters and discus, javelin, and hammer throwers were taking steroids.  By 1968, sprinters, hurdlers, and middle-distance runners had joined them. At the 1968 pre-Olympic training camp, an estimated one third of the entire US track and field team had used steroids, usually taking between 10-100 mg of steroids a day.  A US weightlifting team doctor said, “I don’t think it is possible for a weight man to compete internationally without using anabolic steroids.”

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