For as long as humans have competed against each other athletes have tried all manner of different substances to improve sporting performance. Researchers suggest that the athletes of the Ancient Olympics used plant and testicular extract to attempt to improve perormance. In 1935 the male hormone testosterone was first synthesized. This was the first creation of what we now know as Anabolic Steroids and testosterone still forms the basis of modern day Anabolic Androgenic Steroids. During the second World War it is rumoured that German soldiers were given testosterone to increase their physical capabilities and aggressiveness in battle. Between the late 1940's to mid 1950's, pharmaceutical companies Searle and Ciba experimented in synthesizing over 1000 derivatives of testosterone.
The 1954 Weightlifting Championships provd to be a relevant event in the history of steroid development. The Soviet's dominated these events winning Gold in most of the weight categories. It was rumoured that the Soviets had used testosterone as part of their training programmes. Obviously the American's were interested in this and started looking at supplements to improve their performance. The head team doctor, John Ziegler also started working with Ciba and in 1956, Methandrostenolone was created....Dianabol was born. Since this date the development of Anabolic Steroids has continued to this day. In 1967 the International Olympic Council (IOC) banned the us of anabolic steroids with many major sports governing bodies following suite by the mid 1970's.
In 1972 the IOC developed and implemented a comprehensive drug testing programme. Since the banning of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in sports there has been some high profile cases of elite athletes attempting to cheat. Baseball in America has had the issue for many years with Congress even threatening to intervene. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was found to have stanozolol (although claiming he preferred furazabol) in his system following his win at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. One of the most high profile cases of the use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs is that of famed cyclist Lance Armstrong. Following his huge successes in the cycling world he confessed to using testosterone as well as others during the height of his career. Drug testing is now wide spread across all major sports with heavy penalties (financial and bannings) for anyone caught. Organisations such as UK Anti Doping, World Anti Doping and Keep Rugby Clean (to name just a few) are now set up to bring the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs and Techniques in sport to the public attention and to attempt to keep sport clean. Steroid use is far from on the decline. As long as we compete against each other in sports athletes will continue to look for new drugs that will improve their sporting performance and give them an 'edge' over their opponents. What is even more concerning is that steroids are now more readily available to the general public than ever before. A quick search on the internet will produce 26,400,000 for the word steroids and 10,600,000 for 'steroids for sale'.
The history of steroids continues to be be written as more people use them, more doctors have to treat the side effects, more research is done and more athletes find out how far the steroids will allow them to take their bodies.