by Christian Duque
Just let me come out and say it – I think bodybuilding drug tests are silly (unless it’s for natural shows). I think testing in general is just a cat-and-mouse game anyway, but big league sports seem to see great value in it. Performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) exist in every sport – whether you want to admit it or not. They are definitely in body-powered sports and strength-based sports.
The drugs don’t make champions! If you gave all PEDs, the champions would still be the best, as these connections only help talented people. Indeed, talented people cannot even give the full case. Indeed, many great champions have God-given abilities, but many others simply outperform their competition – they will eat better, exercise with more heart, and will follow their coaches’ instructions closely. It is this combination of genetics, discipline and hard work that creates great champions.
Nonetheless, tests are sometimes performed entirely or randomly to maintain accountability, prevent the use of certain substances, and / or simply in response to external influences.
PEDs had been largely out of sight and understanding in the 1980s, and when it was talked about it was really nothing negative. All of this changed with the 1990 Anabolic Steroids Control Act. This was a very bizarre year for testing in all sports, definitely including bodybuilding. The two largest competitions, Arnold Classic and Mr. Olympia, have been rigorously tested. As already mentioned, the champions stayed the same as the champions always climb to the top. The physique changed, however. Drug testing made these two mammoth events fairly difficult, to say the least, since many competitors failed drug tests and were disqualified.
I recently had a great interview with IFBB Hall of Fame “Sugar” Shawn Ray’s bodybuilder “Sugar” for StrengthAddicts.com, in which we discussed this period in detail. An important part of the interview focused on Shawn’s DQ from the Arnold Classic of 1990 after winning the competition, and another interesting test story about eleven years later at Mr. Olympia 2001, where the runner-up (and future Mr. Olympia ) Jay Cutler. In this article, I will discuss both cases, how they are interpreted from Shawn’s reports, and how the results were completely different.
In 1990 everyone was fixated on equipment, but for the wrong reasons. This was when the real media witch hunt began when elected officials targeted largely harmless supplements that fought muscle loss, increased lean muscle, and helped countless people lose fat. Gosh, what a colossal waste of tax resources.
The government didn’t go after snack makers who scooped cheap ingredients and high fructose corn syrup for millions of children, but after adult-used products that instead promoted health. Anyway, let me get out of my soap box. The bottom line is that steroids became an enemy and everyone, from sports clubs to sports teams, couldn’t run away fast enough. What is crazy about the 1990 Arnold Classic is that Shawn took part in competitions, won the competition and harvested all media fanfare for at least 1-2 months before his test results came back. When it became known that he had failed, this twenty-year-old had already been celebrated around the world. When Wayne Demilia told him his title was going to be stripped, the guy who would be crowned champion would essentially receive it in the mail, and when it came time to press him, all the magazines were already focusing on Mr. Olympia. Poor Mike Ashley may have received the $ 60,000 check, but he received none of the love.
I was curious, why didn’t Shawn fight? He was pretty frank in the interview and said he turned to The Master Blaster, to himself, Joe Weider. Shawn had a very good relationship with Joe and he appreciated it so much that he took the advice of the godfather of modern bodybuilding to heart. Joe told him that he had already qualified for the Olympics by placing in the Ironman and that he had passed the Olympics test. Joe was not only a friend and mentor, but also Shawn’s sponsor, so his advice was always full of wisdom. And it is this friendship and advice that may have taken Shawn’s idea of passing the test. It was the same loyalty to Joe that ultimately led Shawn to refuse the WBF from lucrative contracts that cost $ 225,000 for the first year and $ 250,000 for the second year after he joined the new organization, which was founded in 1990 the ship had jumped. Shawn wanted Mr. Olympia – that was his primary goal – so it was simply nothing to end a career if you were fighting over $ 60,000.
In addition to Shawn’s unique situation, the idea of taking over the IFBB must have been alien to most athletes at the time, as it was on the rise and signed by Weider. I know it has to be today. That being said, 4x Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler seems ready to do just that if he had been disqualified in 2001.
Jayn’s urine sample declined from Shawn’s report, but instead of accepting the opportunity to be disqualified from Mr. Olympia in 2001, Jay threatened to take legal action to deal with the sample. The custody chain is key, and if Jay had found cases of foul play or negligence, it would have been a very strong legal battle. Think about it, if there was absolutely something wrong with the handling of these samples, don’t you want to be 100% sure that the samples provided, the samples tested and everything was carried out 100% according to the protocol? I know I would.
Also, that 2001 Mr. Olympia is one of the most discussed in recent bodybuilding history. It is one of those rare, rare cases where a challenger led a defending champion in prejudice. Something like that just doesn’t happen in bodybuilding – at least not often. Besides, it wasn’t a veteran who wanted to annoy Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman 3 times, but a guy who literally came out of nowhere. Well, if Jay had been DQ’ed, as Shawn says, he would have moved up to 3rd place for his last Olympics. In addition, The Maryland Muscle Machine would have finished second. Nothing of the sort happened, however, because Jay was ready to take the fight to a courtroom – if necessary. So what was different about Jay’s 2001 edition and Shawn’s 1990 edition?
Shawn says Wayne Demilia just didn’t want the negative press in 2001 and gave in to Cutler. Who knows, if Shawn had fought in 1990, Demilia might have collapsed. It’s also quite amazing how much strength Wayne had back then, and it’s also remarkable that getting up didn’t even have the setback that many thought. However, Wayne’s days were numbered since he was due to leave in 2003, and Cutler would win many, many titles, including four Olympias. Like Shawn, Jay had close relationships with Weider, was featured in all magazines, and became / becomes as loyal to the sport as everyone else. Both men don’t seem to have passed drug tests, both at major events, but each has a completely different result. I think the bigger question for me is which guy played it right? I can see merit in how they both handled it, but what I would really like to know is what you think? I’m serious, you are the ones who are really important !! Public opinion is very, very important, even if some sports do nothing but statistical noise or background music.
I hope you enjoyed reading my article here in IronMagazine. As I said, I really want to know what you think. Both cases are so similar and yet so differently completed. Please share your feedback in the comments.