dianabol Drug ProfileWas the doctor a genius, delighted with the creations that sprung from his mind, or a hopeless egotist? But something made him want to believe in John Ziegler, the big scientist with an even bigger ego. Riecke had pumped iron competitively for more than ziegler anabolic steroids decade when he met Ziegler in York, Pa. Riecke had always been ziegler anabolic steroids excellent lifter but siegler quite among the world elite. Ziegler said he could change that.
Dianabol (Methandrostenolone) - Steroid Abuse
Was the doctor a genius, delighted with the creations that sprung from his mind, or a hopeless egotist? But something made him want to believe in John Ziegler, the big scientist with an even bigger ego.
Riecke had pumped iron competitively for more than a decade when he met Ziegler in York, Pa. Riecke had always been an excellent lifter but never quite among the world elite.
Ziegler said he could change that. So a few months after their encounter in late , Riecke traveled from his home in New Orleans to Ziegler's office in Olney. In his garage, the doctor laid out a new regimen that would involve pushing against immovable surfaces, hypnotism, an improved diet and some little pink pills. What Riecke couldn't have known was that he was an early test subject for a substance that would irrevocably change athletic competition worldwide. As it would for many others, Dianabol, an anabolic steroid, boosted him to the top of his sport with shocking rapidity.
But the spread of steroids in America did not hatch as a grand conspiracy. It began with a few lifters who wanted to get better and an ambitious Maryland doctor who thought he could expand human potential.
Frankenstein, creating a monster that would overwhelm sports," Fair said. But according to his correspondence and those who knew him, Ziegler was hardly fixated on the little pink pills as a miraculous key to human improvement. Instead, he was a relentlessly creative thinker, always on the lookout for the next method, device or substance that would make men into supermen. Well, he didn't start steroids. Big personalityFair saw in the doctor a mentality he has glimpsed in elite weightlifters.
They marry big wives, drive big cars, live in big houses. They have that superman mentality. Riecke, now 82, recalls Ziegler much that way. He was way out there with some of his ideas, but you wanted to follow him anyway.
Ziegler, a strapping 6 feet 4, began studying medicine after he suffered grievous wounds to his shoulder and scalp as a Marine in the Pacific in World War II. His recovery inspired him to learn the craft so he could help other soldiers with rehabilitation.
In the course of rebuilding his own physique, he became interested in weight training. At some point in the early s, Ziegler began injecting himself and fellow trainees with testosterone. This was not a new idea.
Scientists had learned to produce synthetic testosterone almost two decades earlier, and the Nazis researched the substance. But the initial results did not impress Ziegler. He then met a bodybuilder named John Grimek, who had competed in the Olympics and was a close associate of Bob Hoffman, who had run the national lifting program for years out of his York gym. Through his connection to Grimek, Ziegler became physician for a team that traveled to the world championships in Vienna, Austria.
There, he later told interviewers, he shared drinks with a Russian doctor, who let slip that Soviet athletes were already receiving testosterone injections. Despite that bit of intelligence, Ziegler dropped his experimentation with testosterone for several years.
In the late s, however, Ciba, a New Jersey pharmaceutical company, gave the doctor samples of a new drug. The hope was that the substance would produce strength gains without the added aggression and sexual arousal caused by straight testosterone. It was called Dianabol. Hoffman and his York lifters showed initial skepticism toward the pills.
March believed his improvement flowed mostly from isometric training the exertion of force against an immovable object or surface. Garcy believed better mental preparation accounted for his gains. About the same time, Ziegler began working with Riecke, an exceptional athlete and the thoughtful product of a liberal, learned New Orleans family.
Until he hooked up with Ziegler, Riecke was no more than a second-tier lifter. In less than a year with the doctor, he added a thick layer of muscle and became a serious threat to win Olympic gold. Riecke was surprised by the extent of his improvement. Like March and Garcy, he attributed it to the power of hypnosis and isometric training more than steroids. He did not seem to notice his poorer results coincided with periods when he cycled off steroids.
Ziegler told Riecke to keep his new training regimen secret at first. But Hoffman asked him how he had improved so rapidly during a conversation that included Ziegler. Not scientific In correspondence unearthed by Fair, Ziegler sounds unsure which of his methods led to Riecke's great leaps in performance. He didn't run proper scientific experiments, with control subjects and adequate sample sizes.
Instead, he worked with a handful of athletes and bombarded them with everything from hypnosis to isometric training to an electrical device he called the isotron. Ziegler's fast-and-loose experimentation fit with his outsized personality.
He smoked, drank and liked to hit the town in his convertible. He was a John Wayne devotee who dressed in cowboy and Indian costumes with some frequency. Smith, the former Olympic trainer, remembered stopping for a drink in Westminster on one car trip from Olney to York. Ziegler requested a double shot of whiskey and asked the bartender whether that seemed strange given his outfit. It did, the man replied. So give me another belt. He had a nickname for everyone.
Ziegler's young son was Knee Deep because he was always in trouble. Ziegler's beagle, Clyde, held place of honor at the family dinner table, often receiving the first serving. Ziegler also gave steroids to Smith, who was never a competitive lifter but wanted to know what it was like to heft serious weight. The trainer took three pink pills a day on a six-week cycle, then alternated off the drug for five weeks.
In 11 months, Smith gained 20 pounds of muscle. His quest climaxed when he raised 1, pounds on his shoulders in a squat. Eventually, Riecke suspected he needed the pills to maintain success.
His demands for the pills became more incessant. He acknowledges now that Dianabol was probably the driving force behind his late-career improvement. He set a world record in the snatch in , the year he turned 38, and made the Olympic team.
Riecke doesn't look back with regret. He took no more than 10 milligrams of Dianabol a day and never suffered ill effects.
He became a strength coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the s and said he never suggested steroids to players because "I didn't believe in it. No qualms When it became apparent that the pink pills had a lot to do with the York lifters' sudden surges in strength, few seemed to find the conclusion ethically troubling. Even as lifters gained wisdom about the effects of the pink pills, Ziegler seemed to lose interest and shift his focus to the isotron, a device that supposedly replicated nerve impulses delivered from the brain to the muscles.
He believed it would make him wealthy and even bragged to Riecke that John Unitas had shown an interest. He said he had increased muscle mass in foxes and snakes with the device. But as Ziegler turned away, anabolic steroid use increased exponentially through the mids. He complained in a Sports Illustrated article that the York lifters "went crazy about steroids.
Smith said the doctor expressed misgivings in the early s. When he found that lifters were doubling their doses by going to a pharmacist in York, he refused to write them any more prescriptions, the trainer recalled. He performed liver function tests every four months to make sure the drugs weren't harming his subjects. He did lead us forward. He just happened to lead us into a terrifying world.
Louis Riecke wasn't sure. Smith stopped using steroids.