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Article about steroids not just in bodybuilding


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For those to lazy to go to the link....

Legendary Promoter Says Steroids Widespread

16/11/2006 07:28 AM

Adam Tanner

After extolling the virtues of bodybuilding for 65 years, legendary publisher and promoter Joe Weider does not mince words about the spread of steroids in the sport.

"You know it, I know it, the whole world knows it. They all know that athletes that want to get to the top will take drugs," said Weider, the man who brought California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to America in 1969, in an interview. "Just don't single out bodybuilders. They all do it."

Weider and his brother, Ben, helped turn bodybuilding from an obscure basement hobby into a respected sport with a global following. Growing popularity has translated into tougher competition and increased use of performance-enhancing drugs.

"An athlete wants to win; they would rather win a title in the Olympics and would be happy to die the next day, as long as he wins," said Weider, who recently published his memoir "Brothers of Iron" with Ben Weider.

"If they are going to be a competitor, they are going to do everything they possibly can to win. There is no way you can stop them, no matter what," he continued. "Wherever you go there is going to be drugs in sport; they go together -- if you want to be a champion."

Joe Weider - who turns 84 or 86 this month, he says his records show conflicting birth dates - started his first fitness magazine in 1940. After continuously adding titles such "Muscle & Fitness," "Men's Fitness," "Flex," and "SHAPE," he was able to sell his publishing company to American Media in 2003 for $357 million.

He also created the Mr Olympia contest in 1965 which later brought Arnold Schwarzenegger fame before his hugely successful film and political careers.

Younger brother Ben Weider, 83, founded and served for 60 years as the president of the International Bodybuilders Federation in which he won recognition for the sport across the world. A resident of Montreal where the brothers grew up, he stepped down from the job just a few weeks ago.

In a separate interview Ben Weider was more cautious in describing the role of steroids, growth hormones and other drugs in pumping ever larger bodies in recent decades.

"If they are overdeveloped, I would say some of them are cheating, some of them are using steroids, I don't think all of them. That goes for any sport you can think of," he said. "Do you want to train harder, or do you want to just take drugs and take a short cut? That's what it comes down to."

Tough Beginning

The Weiders, who are Jewish, said they turned to bodybuilding partially as a defense against anti-Semitism.

"I must have been 11 or 12 when I went to school I had to go through an area that was anti-Semitic," Joe Weider said. "Therefore they would insult me and want to fight with me and all that kind of stuff."

"After I became bigger and stronger, I became a hero, they called me Tarzan."

In an ironic twist, Joe Weider later turned to the charismatic son of a former Nazi Austrian policeman to help build a cult status around bodybuilding. Schwarzenegger, who had first been featured by a rival publisher, impressed Weider at a Miami contest in 1968. Weider then offered to sponsor him in California.

"I knew there is a guy who can be a star for the sport," Weider said of Schwarzenegger, whom he paid $100 a week to write for and pose in his magazines. "Every sport needs a hero and bodybuilding had no hero at that time. He became our hero, because of the way he posed, his personality, his likability and everything."

The relationship proved a boon to both men, but was not always an easy one. "They would quarrel as much as they would have fun," said Barbara Baker, who lived with Schwarzenegger during his early years in the United States.

In his book Weider describes how Schwarzenegger for a time did not credit him with bringing him over from Austria.

Now, Joe Weider considers himself a father to and praises Schwarzenegger, who wrote a warm introduction to his book, but still has an occasional criticism. "The guy's a tightwad; whenever I take him out, he never pays anything," he said.

Even after selling his magazines Joe Weider wants to stay in the bodybuilding game, and said he may introduce a new magazine when his five-year no-compete clause with American Media ends after next year. He said he would like to focus not on the biggest muscular bodies many link with steroid use, but on the positive health impact of weight lifting.

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