Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ben Johnson claims he was sabotaged

Ben Johnson, the Olympic sprinter who was caught using Winstrol (Stanozolol) after winning the Gold Medal for sprinting in 1988, claims in a new book that he was sabotaged.

According to Johnson, his coach was apparently trying to inform Olympic officials of the IOC about the infamous drug doping practices of the East German teams.  Although he wouldn't elaborate on the claims, he is coming out with a new book, entitled Seoul to Soul that will reveal the full details of his new allegations.

The East Germans, under the Soviet proxy state, the GDR (German Democratic Republic) used a variety of steroids on both men and women to increase their performance and help them win medals.  One of the most commonly used substances by the East Germans was Oral Turinabol, which was at the time undetectable.

[Oral Turinabol], as it is called, is a potent derivative of Dianabol.  it is structurally a cross between methandrostenolone and clostebol (4-chlorotestosterone), having the same base structure as Dianabol, with the added 4-chloro alteration of clostebol.  This makes OT a "kindler gentler Dianabol", the new steroid displaying a much lower level of androgenic activity in comparison to its more famous counterpart. [1]

This means Turinabol was a lean muscle builder since it could not aromatize into estrogen, leading to great gains in strength, without the effects of too much bulking -- similar to Winstrol.  The full story of the East German doping program is told in Dr. Steven Ungerleider's book, Faust's Gold: Inside The East German Doping Machine.  A very interesting read.

Although Ben Johnson admitted shortly after the 1988 Olympics he in fact did take steroids and did cheat, he is now trying to come out and claim that it was he who was sabotaged -- he felt that because the East Germans were doing it, it would be okay for him to do it and it should just be an equal playing field after all, a somewhat dubious argument.

Johnson insisted the banned anabolic steroids had not given him any advantage. "It doesn't make you run faster or do anything else," he said. [2]
Technically, that isn't true, as Winstrol is one of the most sought after steroids for use by runners for this purpose.

Win[strol] is also quite effective at promoting strength because it binds very well at the androgen receptor. Short term stanozolol use can promote drastic strength, a feat often employed early in a bulking cycle ... or late in a cutting cycle to prevent a decrease in performance. This combined with the red blood cell count-stimulating properties of its androgen affinity make it popular among track athletes as well in order to beget better results. [3]
So what's the truth?  We'll have to wait and see Johnson's book and if the claims he makes are plausible.  There is currently no word on when is book may be coming out and it is not listed on Amazon.com for pre-order.  But whatever comes out of it, history will still most likely remember Ben Johnson as the first major Olympic drug scandal and our heightened awareness of steroids in sports that we have today.  For the athletes of the GDR who were unwittingly doped with hormones of which they were unaware what they were or what effects they were having, there is a very interesting documentary called Revealed: The Great Olympic Drug Scandal which was broadcast somewhere in the UK.  Although I cannot seem to find it on Amazon, there appears to be quite a few good torrent matches for it if you're interested to check it out.

1.  Llewellyn, William. Anabolics 2005. Body of Science Publishing, Jupiter, FL.  2005
2. Fine, Larry.  Johnson says he was ‘sabotaged’ in ’88 Games.  NBC News/Reuters. 5/27/10
3. Big Cat. Steroid Profiles: Winstrol / Stromba.  Bodybuilding.com/Archive.org. Retrieved 5/31/10
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