How common are steroids in strongman competitors

Bodybuilding in East and West

“I absolutely and sharply resist admitting, even for a moment, that physical culture is in itself a worthless thing. On the contrary, I believe that he who neglects his body (and not caring for it is neglecting it) is guilty of grave sin; because he sins against nature [...] The day of national physical education must come soon, when every child from the 5th to the 14th year will practice daily under medical supervision. "
Eugen Sandow, who formulated these lines in a book in 1904 under the title “Strength and how to get it”, strived for social recognition and mercantile success as well as numerous other protagonists of bodybuilding to this day. Numerous reasons can be given for the fact that the success mostly fell well short of expectations. The extent of the frenetic devotion with which enthusiastic bodybuilders of both sexes devote themselves to their training is hardly inferior to that of the rejection of his opponents, who condemn the dumbbells, cable pulls and strength training machines used in bodybuilding as "tools of torture". Bodybuilding competitions, celebrated as biographical highlights by the protagonists after often months of dieting and often multiple hard training every day, are often scorned and ridiculed by less partisan contemporaries, and are dismissed as "brainless meat inspection" or narcissistic self-presentation without any sporting value Mass media are often perceived as a curiosity that does not deserve to be discussed in the same breath as “serious sport” such as football, boxing or tennis.
As part of a comprehensive life reform movement that encompasses numerous aspects from nudism to yoga to expressive dance, bodybuilding actually did gain a certain popularity in the early 20th century. In 1901, around 15,000 people appeared in London's Royal Albert Hall when one of the first “body beauty competitions” was held - at that time, by the way, by active people in bearskin instead of tight posing panties and at least in front of a jury, which included crime writer Arthur Conan Doyle belonged to. Only in the rarest of cases, however, were participants already on stage who focused exclusively on bodybuilding competitions - if they did it at all. The young Werner Seelenbinder, for example, who took part in a “workers beauty competition” in the Berlin Schinkels ballroom in 1925, was executed in Berlin-Plötzensee in 1944 and became an icon of communist resistance against the Nazi regime in the GDR, was a “mainly sporting” wrestler , and John Grimek, who went down in bodybuilding history as the first "Mister America" ​​in 1939, had participated as a weightlifter in the Olympic Games in fascist Berlin three years earlier. And in fact it was above all the historical upheavals caused by the demons of the “Third Reich” that were to gain considerable importance for bodybuilding in the years after the Second World War.

  For example, Poldi Merc, a bodybuilding enthusiast originally from Vienna, ran his bodybuilding studio in West Berlin in the mid-1950s in a house whose upper floors were still bombed and therefore uninhabitable. This did not detract from the influx of members. In other cities of the still young Federal Republic of Germany, bodybuilding quickly flourished, despite the biting criticism from “Stern” and “Spiegel”, bodybuilding studios and publishers for “muscle magazines” were founded with dumbbells, expanders and dumbbells on the back of “Groschenheften” Protein preparations were advertised and finally, in 1960 in the Bürgerbräu cellar in Munich, the first competitions for dazzling-sounding titles such as “Mister Germany” were held. Those who practiced bodybuilding in the economically prosperous western part of Germany could not hope to reap Olympic glory at some point, because only a few officials, above all the founders of the world bodybuilding association IFBB, Ben and Joe Weider, dreamed of recognition of bodybuilding as an Olympic sport . So far, however, the hope for a well-proportioned body, appreciative looks from the other and envious looks from one's own sex has been enough for the growing influx, and with a little imagination one could even build a film career based on the model of "Hercules actors" like Steve Reeves and Reg Park before Arnold Schwarzenegger finally merged bodybuilding with the genre of action films after a few less fortunate attempts (including “Hercules in New York”) with his roles primarily as “Conan” and “Terminator”.
Schwarzenegger could even afford to openly admit his anabolic steroids with a broad smile in front of the television camera in the mid-1970s - not even at the Olympic Games were anabolic steroids tested before 1976. In addition, bodybuilding was not an Olympic discipline and therefore not subject to its regulations, and who cared at the culmination point of the flower power era when young, healthy and apparently energetic men threw in a few pills, of which they were still at that time no one suspected that they could cause cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure and heart attacks.When masculine bodybuilding and feminine aerobics merged into the "fitness wave" at the beginning of the 1980s and, with Lisa Lyon and Rachel McLish, extremely intelligent and both feminine and athletic-looking female bodybuilding protagonists conquered the competition stages and weight rooms previously reserved for men, the pending industry achieved With studio memberships, equipment, sportswear, magazines, books, nutritional supplements, trainer training and numerous other products and services, already billions in sales worldwide.
But only in that world whose governments were legitimized by free, democratic elections. On the other side of the Iron Curtain, bodybuilding and fitness developed under completely different conditions.
Wolfgang Leonhard, who was flown into bombed Berlin as a young communist who grew up in the Soviet Union in 1945 together with other members of the "Ulbricht Group", recorded in his memoirs a statement with which the patron saint of this group, the KPD functionary and later Chairman of the GDR State Council, Walter Ulbricht, at a briefing on the situation clearly outlined how he imagined the situation in post-war Germany: "It has to look democratic, but we have to have everything in our hands!" Have everything in hand - that also referred to sport, even sport in particular! Not only because Erich Honecker, then a functionary of the communist youth organization FDJ and later wall architect, clearly denied the idea of ​​apolitical sport at a meeting of the German Sports Committee before the GDR was founded in 1949, but above all because the GDR, in addition to the "Volkssport “As the most cost-effective“ fit-maker ”for work and national defense from the 1960s onwards also instrumentalized competitive sport in the interests of socialist reasons of state in an internationally unique way. In particular, the "competitive sport resolution" passed in 1969 had decisive consequences for the entire sporting structure of the still young GDR. Since the GDR sports leadership, in stark contrast to the Federal Republic, did not tolerate organized sport outside of state-created structures, no structures similar to those in the Federal Republic could be established in the GDR.

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