Nowadays there are more people than ever before who are using steroids. In Western society, go into most gyms, and there’ll be a least one or two steroid users. There’s a steroid culture that’s getting ever bigger, mainly among those who use the drugs for cosmetic reasons, to gain size and muscle mass. It’s scary to think that kids and adolescents who should have no business taking steroids, are taking the drugs. Instead of spending years pounding away at the iron, taking their time, people want results fast, and therefore turn to steroids.
Many of these individuals don’t have a clue how to take them, the correct dosages, the side effects, or anything like that. All they care about is getting big fast. That’s one of the reasons steroids get a bad rep. Young naïve individuals abuse the drugs and pay the consequences. But why are they taking steroids, how do they know that steroids will give them the results they’re hoping for? Because for decades, steroid use has been rife, not only in regular gyms, but among professional athletes partaking in competitive sports. Whatever these individuals can do to enhance their performances, they do. They want to get bigger, stronger, faster, and see steroids as a way of achieving that. But some people, those on this list, have been found out. Revelations that they were steroid users rocked the world of sport when they came to light. Because of these individuals and others like them, steroids is a seriously dirty word. These are 15 instances where steroid use has rocked the world of sports.
15. Vitali Klitschko’s Olympic Dream Ended
Vitali, along with his brother Wladimir Klitschko, ruled supreme over boxing’s heavyweight division for a hell of a long time. For around a decade the two bros held all the belts, and were basically untouchable.
Vitali’s career came to an end in 2012 when he stepped away from the sport a champion in order to focus on his political endeavors. 45 wins and 2 losses is a remarkable record, and that’s pretty much how Vitali will be remembered. But during the early part of his career, and I’m talking about over two decades ago, Vitali’s career was almost over before it had really begun. Back in 1996, Vitali had already established himself as a more than decent kickboxer and amateur boxer. He was selected to take part in the Atlanta Olympics, but was cut from the Ukrainian team due to a failed drugs test. He tested positive for a banned steroid, which he claimed he was taking for a leg injury. It was a pretty big deal at the time, considering he was one of the best up and coming boxers in the world, but it’s since been forgotten about by most and he’s gone on to repair his damaged reputation during the decades that followed.
14. Arnold Schwarzenegger: “Work Hard, Play By The Rules And You Can Achieve Anything.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a megastar. If I was compiling a list of the most famous individuals on the planet, the biggest so-called celeb, he’d be at the helm of that list. Bodybuilder turned actor turned politician, whatever Arnie tries his hand at he inevitably succeeds. Coming from a small town in Austria, who would have thought that Arnie would rise to become the legend he is?
There were plenty of naysayers, but Arnie believed in his own ability to accomplish whatever he set his mind to: “Work hard, play by the rules and you can achieve anything” – that’s a famous quote of his about how he’s lived his life, or at least that’s how he wants you to think he’s lived his life. Back in his bodybuilding days, Arnie took steroids. He’s actually been very open about his steroid use, saying he didn’t really know what did what and he just took a bit of this and a bit of that before competitions. In his autobiography, it says he was taking anabolics when he was a teenager. A ton of people, gym goers and aspiring bodybuilders look up to Arnie, and so when this came to light, many were seriously shocked; it kind of contradicts what he said in that quote.
13. Roids For A-Rod
Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod, played in the MLB for 22 seasons where he hit himself into the record books and became known as one of the greatest of all time. Because of his big hitting, he became the target of constant accusations that he was a steroid user. A-Rod always flatly denied these accusations, but in 2009, the world of baseball was rocked when A-Rod did a U-turn and finally let the world know his dirty little secret. He didn’t just come out and admit the truth; he was found out first, then decided it would be wise to put his hands up and admit to steroid use. A reporter broke the news that A-Rod had tested positive for two anabolic steroids, testosterone and Primobolan, the latter being a banned substance. After a report was compiled, A-Rod revealed he had been taking anabolics from 2001 to 2003, because he felt “an enormous amount of pressure to perform.”
12. Rawalpindi Express Doesn’t Leave The Station
Unless you’re into your cricket, Shoaib Akhtar might not be all too familiar to you, but he is to over a billion cricket fans in Asia, and many more around the world, to whom he was a much-loved figure.
Shoaib Akhtar hails from Pakistan, from a region called Rawalpindi. During his playing days, he made a name for himself as the world’s fastest bowler, and even clocked the 100mph mark, which was a remarkable feat. He wasn’t just fast, but had that fast bowler mentality; he was aggressive and ferocious on and off the pitch. He had that rockstar persona, and it’s something that landed him in plenty of trouble over the years. Throughout his playing days, Shoaib Akhtar was basically a walking scandal. It was one thing after another with Shoaib, but one incident stood out and almost ruined him. It certainly shocked the world of cricket, and sports at the time because he was such a major star.
In 2006, he was suspended after testing positive for the banned substance, the steroid nandrolone. He was a pretty built guy and had always been suspected of using performance enhancers, and this failed test got lots of people talking. His former captain and board chairmans, began speaking out, saying they had suspected Shoaib had been using drugs for a long time. But Shoaib protested his innocence, saying the results were due to dietary supplements that were not on the banned list. It was a huge scandal at the time that rocked the cricket world, but Shoaib was subsequently found innocent and the ban was lifted on appeal.
11. Barry Bonds And Baseball’s Infamous Steroid Scandal
Back when Barry Bonds was doing his thing in baseball, there were few better sights than seeing him belt home runs for fun. The slugger was one of the biggest, most built guys around, and trained hard pumping iron in order to be able to hit all the balls he hit out of the ballpark. But in 2007, it was thought he might have been doing a bit more than getting in his protein and gym time. He was mixed up and charged with his involvement in a steroid scandal, and being the star he was, the whole world got to know about it. There had always been speculation that Bonds had been taking performance enhancers. These rumors grew in 2003 when Bonds’ trainer was charged with supplying steroids to athletes. He was deemed guilty of taking steroids by association, but then in 2015, all the charges were overturned, and Bonds’ was a disgraced athlete no more. But it didn’t stop people from talking, from speculating, and the damage had been done, to Bonds and baseball.
10. Fallen Track And Field Star
And now we get into athletics. Doping has been a massive issue in athletics for years, but over the last few, it’s escalated to levels not a lot of people anticipated. It’s led to Russian athletes being banned from the Olympic games, and there’s always some name or another popping up and people having their feats discounted due to failed drug tests that are coming to light.
100m sprinters have always had to deal with allegations of steroid use. But there have been many times where these allegations have actually been found to be true. It’s given the event a seriously bad name, as is the fact that many of those who have served doping bans are now back and racing. Tyson Gay is one of those disgraced athletes who’s done his time and is now back in the mix. There’s no doubting his prowess as a sprinter; in fact, he’s one of the fastest men in the world after the phenomenon that is Usain Bolt. That’s why when he tested positive for a substance that was on the banned list, it rocked the world of athletics. He admitted, what he deemed to be a mistake, right away, saying “I put my trust in someone and was let down,” basically saying someone told him to take the performance enhancer, and he blindly took it. For him to be suspended for a little over a year was a travesty in many people’s eyes – should have been a lot longer, even if it was just down to his naivety.
9. Marion Jones, The Fallen Hero
The BALCO scandal – Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, which was a lab that supplied steroids to athletes – brought many athletes’ careers crashing down. It was the scandal that Barry Bonds was implicated in, and another star athlete who was in the middle of everything was Marion Jones.
Marion Jones was a superstar on the track. She won events for fun and was the darling of American athletics. From a young age, she was destined for great things, decimated those she was up against on the track, and that led to rumors surfacing that she was taking steroids. She was dogged by such rumors pretty much throughout her entire career. Marion made every effort to get across that she was a clean athlete, and distanced herself as much as possible from steroids. She even blamed the rumors for breaking up her marriage. But then serious investigations began to get underway, and patterns began to emerge; who Marion would train with, the coaches she’d appoint, the camps she’d attend, all with people who were known for the distribution of steroids. Further investigations, and a number of testimonies from those who had given her the drugs, meant that Marion was in deep, and it was soon proven that her squeaky-clean image was just a ruse. Solid evidence emerged that Marion had been doping. She had no way out, couldn’t keep up the charade, and admitted everything, pleading guilty. It shocked the world of athletics, because Marion was such a decorated athlete, and had made a conscious effort to make everyone think she was drug-free. She conned everyone, and paid what she’d deem to be the ultimate price.
8. Two-Time Cheat Josh Barnett
It’s one thing to take steroids in sports where they’re banned, but taking steroids in combat sports is just beyond. Not only are you gaining an unfair advantage, you could cause some serious damage to your opponent if on ‘roids, which is why many people agree that steroid use should never be allowed in any form of combat sport.
Josh Barnett was a pretty decent MMA fighter. In 2000, he rose to the top to become the youngest Heavyweight champion in UFC history, and the promotion thought they had something special on their hands. But the promising young talent was discovered to be taking steroids, which put him in the doghouse with UFC and the fans. Josh was ruined, his glowing reputation was gone. He was eventually allowed back into the mix – much to the dismay of many people – and let everyone and himself down again when he tested positive for a steroid in 2009. This two-time cheat has no place in the octagon.
7. Floyd Landis’ Not So Special Comeback
Floyd Landis is the very definition of a disgraced former athlete. At his peak as a cyclist, Landis was a special talent. He had it all and made a pretty decent career out of being a professional cyclist. But in 2006, doping allegations came to light which cast a shadow over all of his accomplishments. These allegations kept cropping up over the next four years, and Landis continuously denied he’d ever taken steroids or any other performance enhancers. But in 2010 he could deny no more, and due to the mounting evidence against him, decided to come clean. He was banned for two years, returned to cycling in 2009, and then a year later came his shock admission. He admitted to continued doping throughout his career, and unsurprisingly, no teams wanted him on board which marked the end of his career. He got his just desserts, I’m sure many would agree.
6. Russia’s State-Sponsored Systematic Doping
This is the latest scandal to have rocked the sporting world, and it’s a pretty massive one at that. Athletics is still feeling the effects of this scandal, which began to come to light in 2014. It all started when a German reporter said that there’d been state-sponsored doping in Russia. A year later, everything came to a head when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published their findings, and Russian athletes were subsequently banned from competing in events. As events unfolded, there were tons of scandals, scandals within scandals, and plenty of dodgy goings on. Doping samples had been disposed of by Russian labs, they’d been switched, and plenty of other coverups were discovered. It really was a massive deal; hundreds of athletes have been banned, stripped of medals and their accomplishments from previous events, and clean Russian athletes have been penalized because of the ban too. The international fallout was massive, and it continues to be a major issue in the world of athletics.
5. A Threat From The Sponsors
Professional bodybuilding isn’t really thought of as a mainstream sport. People see images of these guys, all muscular and oiled up, flexing in their tiny posing trunks on stage, and they don’t understand what the appeal is. Another thing that’s a massive turn off for people in bodybuilding, is that the athletes on stage are all taking steroids. They’re not alleged to be taking steroids, they are taking steroids. Steroids and bodybuilding is very strange. Everyone knows the bodybuilders are taking ‘roids. The athletes themselves have also admitted steroid use. But the various bodybuilding confederations still deny steroid use is going on. They still say they randomly drug test people – yeah right.
Bodybuilding has gotten a bad name, and one of the reasons for that is because steroid use is rampant. In an effort to make it more appealing, it was decided that one year at the Mr. Olympia – the biggest bodybuilding event in the world – all athletes would be tested and steroid use would be banned. But it ended up being an almighty flop. Those who came and paid money to watch bodybuilding shows do so because they want to see the freaks, the mass monsters. Because of that rule that was imposed, the bodybuilders came on stage looking a lot smaller than they normally would, and the fans weren’t happy. Neither were the sponsors, who threatened to pull out of subsequent Mr. Olympia events if that rule was still in place. Needless to say, it was scrapped, and they went back to “random drug testing.”
4. Gatlin Didn’t Learn His Lesson
Justin Gatlin is the villain of athletics. There’s no doubting his prowess on the track; he’s one of the fastest men on the planet in the 100m dash, and isn’t bad in the 200m either. But because of his doping bans, he’s painted to be the villain, the guy people love to hate. It’s made for some interesting battles, and stories, over recent years. Gatlin vs. Bolt – that’s become the stellar contest everyone loves to see, the guy who’s served bans for doping vs. the clean, enigmatic, charismatic fellow everyone loves, Usain Bolt. Much to people’s delight, it’s Bolt who’s always had the upper hand.
Gatlin’s served not one, but two doping bans during the course of his career. In 2001, he served a doping ban after testing positive for amphetamines. However, Gatlin appealed, saying the result was because of medication, and he was reinstated. Many people still hold that against him, forget about the fact he was reinstated. Then in 2006, he was banned for steroid use. Gatlin claimed his massage therapist had rubbed oil that had testosterone onto him, which was the reason for the failed test. But he accepted an eight-year ban, later reduced to four, and is still facing the fallout, despite having been back on the track for a number of years now.
3. Vince McMahon’s Steroid Trial
Just like in bodybuilding, there’s always been an affiliation between steroids and wrestling. Fans love to see these massive guys, sheer mass monsters, jumping off the ropes flying through the air like a bird, and it’s also pretty obvious that a lot of these guys have had a bit of help to enable them to do that. Guys like Scott Steiner and Triple H, they’ve never been busted for steroid use, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that they were on a little more than multivitamins.
In the early 90s, a whole lot of stuff regarding steroid use and wrestling came to light and almost toppled Vince McMahon and his empire. He was charged with obtaining steroids and giving them to his wrestlers, and a massive trial ensued. But – what many deemed to be – sloppy legal errors, ridiculous eyewitness accounts, and a host of other failings, meant that Vince was acquitted of all charges, and was allowed to get back to his wrestling business.
2. Oh Ben
Plenty of stuff in regards to doping in the world of athletics has come to light over recent years, and in the years since Ben Johnson was a force to be reckoned with on the track. But despite all these new findings, Ben Johnson is still the biggest fish that’s ever been caught by WADA, and because of his accomplishments, because he was such a big name in the industry, he was “nailed on the cross” and his reputation was destroyed.
In 1987, Ben Johnson, a Jamaican athlete running for Canada, astonished everyone by setting a world record at the World Championships. Then, at the Korean Olympic Games, he shocked again, winning gold in the 100m. He became a superstar throughout the world, especially in Canada where he was now regarded to be a hero. But the adulation didn’t last long. Ben’s team decided a dose of steroids was needed for Ben to win. He was caught, and then came clean, admitting he’d been taking ‘roids for some time. Around a decade later, he failed a drug test for the third time, and his athletics career was over. The disgraced former athlete left the track knowing he’d been found out, that he’d cheated the sport and the fans, and returned to Canada a hero no more.
1. Lance Backtracks And Admits To Cheating
Professional road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong was the best cyclist on the planet for a pretty long time. But pretty much all of his accomplishments have been scrapped since it came to light that Lance was using performance enhancers, and had been for over a decade while he was competing.
It’s always worse when these allegations come to light, if the athlete is someone who’s been continuously denying steroid use, and if that person’s done some tremendous stuff. People loved Lance because of his story, what he’d gone through. He came back and started winning events after battling cancer, and people were amazed, deemed him to be a phenomenon. He was a machine, but that’s because he was doping. Despite denying he’d been doping since the late 90s, evidence emerged in 2012 that he was involved in “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” Consequently, he was banned for life, and subsequently went on to admit that he’d used performance enhancers right throughout his career. His fall from grace was rapid, and it’s a scandal that will stand out in sporting history, because of its sophistication and because Lance was such a high-profile athlete.
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