Anabolic steroid use in athletics, in all probability, began with the 1952 Olympics, as noted earlier in this article. Although not chronologically correct, I′m going to also finish this piece with the most famous case of sports doping in the world. Of course, I′m talking about the man who was considered the fastest man in the world: Ben Johnson. After breaking the world sprinting record in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, he tested positive for Winstrol (Stanozolol). For anyone who has never heard his coach tell the story, Charlie Francis has provided ample evidence for the test being somewhat unreliable (3). Briefly states, the accepted drug clearance time for Winstrol at that time was +/- three days for the oral form and +/- 14 days for the injectable. Ben had used the compound 28 days prior to the race, and the parent compound was still found. This is especially odd, since the parent compound only lasts for 45 minutes after administration. The testers, therefore, must be making the claim that Ben ingested it just prior to the actual race. Both he and his coach, Mr. Francis, denied this. In fact, it was later discovered that someone as lean as Johnson may have even been clear in less than 3 days! Some oral steroids at that time (Anavar, or Oxandrolone) couldn′t even be found on tests at that time.
So the test remains very suspect, although Ben Johnson was suspended and stripped of his Olympic Gold medal. He probably suffered the worst fate of all the people who have been caught using steroids either at the Olympics or otherwise.
So where does that leave us? Well certainly, the world of sports has embraced the use of steroids, or at least the athletes have... the use of steroids in sports is certainly visible but not as widespread as thought. It is not the problem that it is often made out to be, and it is not a problem that is easily defined or to put a number on. Statistically, it is a very elusive topic, and sources often present conflicting data. But one thing remains true, regardless of statistics, Congressional hearings, or admissions of guilt. Although some athletes still compete for the love of the game, prestige often accompanies success. And today, just as two millennia ago, athletes often find the opportunity to compete for both prestige as well as money. And that is why they sought out performance enhancers in the ancient Olympic Games, and that′s why athletes are using steroids in sports today.
Steroids In Sports References:
Wm. Blake Tyrrell, "The Smell of Sweat: Greek Athletics, Olympics, and Culture," Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Wauconda. 2004.
"Hormonal Doping and Androgenization of Athletes: " Franke et. al
"A Brief History of Drugs in Sport" by Charlie Francis
"Speed Trap" by Charlie Francis
JAMA 1988 Dec 16;260(23):3441-5.
Am J Dis Child. 1990 Jan;144(1):99-103.
J Sch Nurs. 2005 Dec;21(6):333-9.
J Strength Cond Res. 2004 Nov;18(4):908-17.
Monitoring the Future [MTF], n.d
Journalism. 5(1). 51-68, 2004.
Percept Mot Skills. 1993 Apr;76(2):379-83.
(Michigan State University Dept. of Athletics)
J Adolesc Health Care. 1990 May;11(3):210-4.
(National Football League Statistics)
"Romo My Life on the Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons."by Bill Romanowski et al. William Morrow Publishing co. 2005.
More details at