Sporting life: It’s not what you take, but
what they catch you with.
TESTING FOR PEDS
I see where the AMA is now
testing for performance-enhancing
drugs at the AMA Nationals. I may
be in the minority, but what a rider
puts in his body should be his own
business. The AMA should let them
do what they want.
You are definitely in the minority.
A sport cannot allow its athletes to
endanger their health and the reputation of the sport by pumping themselves full of questionable drugs. You
may think that taking EPO or HGH
only effects the rider who takes it,
but as many as 40 pro cyclists have
died at a young age from
taking performance-enhancing drugs,
which has tarnished the image of
all cyclists. Do you want motocross
stars to start dying also?
It should be noted that the AMA
is not doing the drug testing. They
contracted the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who is
affiliated with the World Anti-Doping
Agency (WADA), to enforce the
same rules as used in the Olympics.
The most popular forms of
cheating in sports are as follows:
(1) Blood doping: In addition
to taking drugs that build mass
and strength, some athletes engage
in blood doping by infusing whole
blood to increase oxygen delivery
to the tissues. At the 2007 Tour de
France, Alexander Vinokourov tested
positive for an illegal blood transfu-
sion after winning the Stage 13 time
trial. An athlete who infuses his own
blood may suffer high blood pres-
sure, blood clots and strokes. Lance
Armstrong blood doped.
( 2) EPO (erythropoietin): This
was the performance-enhancing drug
of choice of Tour de France cyclists,
including Lance Armstrong. EPO is
a heart medicine that stimulates the
bone marrow stem cells to make
red blood cells, which increase the
delivery of oxygen to the kidney.
Cycling and the Olympics use a
urine test to check for EPO, but this
only works if the athlete took EPO
within one week of the test. The
side effects of EPO are stroke, heart
attack and cardiac arrest. Why? The
extra red blood cells thicken the
blood to the point where the low
heart rate of trained athletes can’t
pump it efficiently enough.
( 3) BALCO Cream (
testoster-one/epitestosterone): This is the
famous drug concoction, brewed at
the BALCO lab, that brought baseball players Jason Giambi and Barry
Bonds under public scrutiny. Since
“Cream” is a mixture of testosterone
and epitestosterone, it keeps the
two anabolic steroids in equal ratios,
which makes them hard to detect.
BALCO’s Cream avoided detection
for years and was only discovered
when someone snitched (rather than
go to jail). The side effects of Cream
are the same as with all anabolics—
baldness, acne, breast enlargement
( 4) DHEA (dehydroepiandros-
terone): This steroid prohormone
(often available over the counter)
builds muscle mass, stimulating the
muscle and bone cells to make new
protein. The most common steroids
are dehydroepiandrosterone, andro-
stenedione, testosterone and nan-
drolone. It is banned by most sports.
Andro can be discovered by a simple
urine test; the technicians just
have to compare the ratio of
testosterone to epitestosterone.
DHEA’s side effects are baldness,
acne, liver damage, breast enlarge-
ment, impotence and mood changes.
( 5) HGH (human growth hor-
mone): HGH is closely associated
with Barry Bonds and Chinese
Olympic swimmer Yuan Yuan. Taking
HGH stimulates the synthesis of
protein, which in turn strengthens
the bones and cartilage. Its great-
est effects are on injury prevention
and recovery time. The International
Olympic Committee uses a blood test
to check for HGH. HGH cannot be
found by a urine test. The side effect
of HGH is acromegaly (enlargement
of the hands, jaw, feet, brow and
internal organs). When an
athlete’s head grows to Shrek-like
proportions, like Barry Bonds, he
instantly becomes suspect.
( 6) THG (
tetrahydrogestri-none): The list of athletes accused
of the illegal use of THG include
Marion Jones, Barry Bonds and Jason
Giambi. THG is a liquid form of anabolic steroid. It increases protein
synthesis to speed up muscle growth.
As with all anabolic steroids, the
side effects include acne, testicular
atrophy, baldness, impotence and
potential heart attacks.
The sole objective of using
regardless of the sport, is to gain an
unfair advantage. Athletes who use
them are trading short-term gains for
long-term side effects. A juiced
athlete is a chemical stockpile.