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Roid Rage: The paradoxes of pharmacological puritanism in sport

Lecture for 'Drugs Across Cultures' 30 May 2012
by Greg Downey on 5 June 2013

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Transcript of Roid Rage: The paradoxes of pharmacological puritanism in sport

neuroanthropology relationship of culture to the nervous system
how do cultural forms of training affect development?
sports as a model for thinking about all training 1998 Mark McGwire, St. Louis Cardinals Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 'performance enhancing drugs' Homerun Record Chase 1998 ‘I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.’ androstenedione or 'andro' Ball-and-stick model of the Androstenedione molecule C19H26O2. steroid hormone produced in adrenal gland
precursor to sex hormones, including testosterone Thomas Hicks, 1904 gold medalist in marathon, received strychnine injection. During 6-day bicycle races, riders sometimes hallucinated from fatigue, champagne & nitroglycerine as PED. very little moral concern about use of PES.
authorities recommended alcohol, koala nut, purified oxygen, tobacco...
some reporters even lamented when they thought athletes needed them. Alberto Contador (& Floyd Landis) stripped of Tour de France titles Chinese swimmer Yuan Yuan arrested with HGH by customs in Perth, 1998. Chris Benoit, WWE Vince McMahon, owner WWE Japanese swimmers in 1932 had unexpected victories after receiving pure oxygen before races.
German athletes in the 1936 Olympics were given amphetamines, as was Hitler (up to 8x/day).
British military used 72 million doses of amphetamines. the East German Olympic team (GDR) 1960s to 1980s
population 16 million Oral-Turinabol
given to 10,000 athletes
160 gold medals Manfred Ewald Heidi Kreiger I didn't know any more who I was. The pills accelerated any transsexual tendencies I may already have had. I wasn't able to identify with my body anymore and that led me to undergo a sex change. (quoted in Kettmann 2000b) ‘We are here to swim, not to sing.’ World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA): ‘doping is fundamentally against the ethos of the spirit of the Olympic Games: the fair play. Many of the prohibited substances and methods are harmful to athletes' health and can cause short and long-term damage.’ a very short history of performance enhancing drugs in sport The 'wonder girls' in Montreal 1976 ‘a large-scale animal experiment on living people’ Wolf Biermann ‘It's terrifying what they did to us. I took up to 30 pills a day. They always told us they were vitamins. There was no question you would not take them. You had to play by the rules. We were vehicles chosen to prove that socialism was better than capitalism. What happened to our bodies was entirely secondary to that political mission led by [Manfred] Ewald.’
Carola Beraktschjan ??? andro Situation today? a paradoxical pharmacological puritanism More significantly, scientific training regimes are now the norm in all world-class sport, with support staffs outnumbering coaches, and centres of excellence taking on children at a younger and younger age. The goal may have changed from glorifying the state to making a profit, but the methodology remains worryingly familiar.
(Carlson 2002) Ewald's obituary in The Guardian Ed Holovchik [aka Ed Fury], bodybuilder and Mr. Los Angeles contestant with model Jackie Coey, 1953 'Steroid vacations' Michael Dorn strikes a bodybuilder pose in a Pattaya street. Steroid use in Australia paradox of a 'performance enhancing drug' with no performance.
fastest growing drug in interdiction in Australia: 100%+ increase last year.
Postal seizures.
Users: bodybuilders, bouncers, police officers.... 2011, bodybuilder Aziz ''Zyzz'' Shavershian, died of ''undiagnosed'' heart condition in a Bangkok sauna. Drugs available & cheap in Thailand & other thinly regulated markets, such as trenbolone, a powerful veterinary grade steroid. 'Andropause' - medicalisation of normal aging?
HGH for short children? Kareem, 80-year-old Canadian bodybuilder in 2009 forcing our bodies to conform to our distorted ideals next semester:
Human evolution & diversity (Anth 151)
Psychological anthropology (Anth 207) Kornelia Ender NOTE: I am NOT saying that these people have USED steroids.
Point is that our expectations have changed!

To us, because of changes in diet, supplements, workout, techniques to get 'shredding' (including diuretics)...

A bodybuilder from 1953 no longer looks like a bodybuilder to us. (Neither would the actress in the picture get a callback today...)

Photos of East German athletes that once looked shocking now look unremarkable. 2013 Lance Armstrong (7x Tour de France winner) stripped of titles and banned, 2012 Ongoing investigation (2013) on Essendon Bombers' & other teams' use of PES, including peptides. in 2007, at 60 years old, Sylvester Stallone arrested in Sydney International Airport with vials of HGH (human growth hormone), charged with importing controlled substance. East German coach in response to another coach pointing out the East German women swimmers' deep voices. andro devised by the East German doctors as a 'bridging drug' to maintain steroid-induced growth u to competition, after steroids discontinued to avoid testing positive. on the one hand, a demand for constant improvement, high stakes & massive technology...
on the other hand, higher standards than for the general public. On the one hand, attempt to instill fear in athletes of risks...

on the other, assumption that athletes should do everything in their power to succeed, including run risks. recent news reports on IV drug injection rooms in Gold Coast, originally created to fight spread of HIV in addicts, now being used by body-builders.
largest category of users: clinics 'now overrun with muscly young men.' Needle exchange programs report dramatic increase in steroid use in Queensland, by Elise Worthington, ABC News. Rising prescription of testosterone to middle-aged and older men.
Number of prescriptions tripled since 2001.
One-quarter of men prescribed testosterone had never been blood tested for natural testosterone level. 'Aging is associated with bad vision, bad hearing, bad teeth, bad arteries, bad joints and cancer, and we treat all of these things. I think it’s an unfair stretch to say that because something is common or natural that we shouldn’t treat it.' Dr. Abraham Morgentaler
Author, Testosterone for Life
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