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Retroactive Drug Testing For Olympic Athletes

Sep 10, 2008
Before the 2004 Olympic Games, officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were quite aware of the fact that many of the world's top athletes had discovered what many others around the world, in both sport and medicine had discovered.

Growth hormone (GH) was a terrific drug for improving muscularity and strength while reducing side effects, with very little side effects. It was beginning to take foothold in the supplement regimens of many athletes, and the IOC had no way to test for it.

After all, the brain releases its own levels of human growth hormone. All the GH supplementation was doing was increasing those levels, and it was impossible to prove who was using, and who was not.

The officials decided to bluff the athletes. They assured the world that strict testing for human growth hormone would take place at the 2004 Games. The athletes didn't know a great deal about growth hormone at the time, and many halted use. The Games arrived, and there was no test.

By 2008, four years had passed and the athletes and their trainers knew a great deal more about growth hormone. They had seen four years of non-testing, and realized it was currently impossible to test athletes. When the IOC tried to bluff the athletes again, they weren't buying it.

Athletes appeared in the games with many of the telltale signs of heavy GH use, including greater muscle, lower body fat and in some cases, slightly altered faces from bone growth. World records were shattered in many events, and sometimes by 2 or 3 seconds, a feat previously unheard of. It was clear to most with expertise in the drug area that athletes were using growth hormone heavily in 2008. And, just as in 2004, a test for GH never materialized. Athletes got away with it... for now.

Blood samples were taken from all 2008 Olympia athletes, and were frozen for future testing, once a reliable test for growth hormone is available. This brings us to an interesting quagmire. What will happen if, in either 6 months, or 6 years, they do finally have the technology to test the blood for GH?

What if they should discover that the top eight athletes in nearly every event were using GH? Will they strip all the winners and other contestants of medals? The athletes will get to keep the money and the other fruits of their labors, but will their reputations be ruined? Even more interesting, will we see a scenario as with professional baseball?

There was no testing from 1998 to 2002, and we saw records broken which still stand today, when drug testing exists. Will the 2012 and 2016 games, if they take place in an era of successful GH testing, be marked with a giant decline in performance compared to the 2008 Games? Or, will science, once again, find a way to stay one step ahead of testers?
About the Author
Dane Fletcher is the world-wide authority on bodybuilding and steroids. He has coached countless athletes all over the world. To read more of his work, please visit either www.BodybuildingToday.com or www.SteroidsToday.com
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