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History of Steroids

A Brief History Of Anabolic Steroids

Winning Through Doping
The drive to compete-and to win-is as old as humankind. Throughout history, athletes have sought foods and potions to transform their bodies into powerful, well tuned machines.

Greek wrestlers ate huge quantities of meat to build muscle, and Norse warriors (The Berserkers) ate hallucinogenic mushrooms to gear up for battle.

The first competitive athletes believed to be charged with doping (taking drugs and other nonfood substances to improve performance) were swimmers in Amsterdam in the 1860s. Doping, with anything from strychnine and caffeine to cocaine and heroin, spread to other sports over the next several decades.

Enter Anabolic Steroids
The use of anabolic steroids by athletes is relatively new. Testosterone was first synthesized in the 1930′s and was introduced into the sporting arena in the 1940′s and 1950′s.

When the Russian weight lifting team thanks, in part, to synthetic testosterone-walked off with a pile of medals at the 1952 Olympics, an American physician determined that U. S. competitors should have the same advantage.

By 1958 a U.S. pharmaceutical firm had developed anabolic steroids. Although the physician soon realized the drug had unwanted side effects, it was too late to halt its spread into the sports world.

Early users were mainly bodybuilders, weight lifters, football players, and discus, shot put, or javelin throwers-competitors who relied heavily on bulk and strength.

During the 1970′s demand grew as athletes in other sports sought the competitive edge that anabolic steroids seemed to provide.

By the 1980′s, as non athletes also discovered the body-enhancing properties of steroids, a black market began to flourish for the illegal production and sale of the drugs for nonmedical purposes.