Anabolic-androgenic steroids, commonly referred to as anabolic steroids, are drugs that are much like testosterone with respect to how they affect the body. Basically, these drugs increase the amount of proteins within a person’s cells, more so in the skeletal muscles. Their characteristics are diverse, such as the ability to develop and maintain the growth of muscles as well as body hair.
Anabolic steroids tend to increase the masculine characteristics of one who uses them. For instance, women who use anabolic steroids tend to develop bodily characteristics that resemble those of men such as deeper voice, flatter chest, etc...
The initial production of anabolic steroids came about in the 1930s. Today, other than doping, they are used for various medicinal purposes such as increasing one’s appetite, stimulating one’s muscle growth, treating conditions like AIDS and cancer, inducing puberty in males, etc.
Anabolic steroids, according to some studies, can also be used to increase one’s body weight when used with a proper diet. Steroids have been around sport for decades. Steroids, among various similar drugs, have been the cause of the fall from grace experienced by far too many athletes around the world. Many young promising athletes have fallen short thanks to being caught using steroids or other drugs so as to enhance their performance in their particular sport.
Many tend to look to sports such as baseball and cycling when looking for athletes who have been caught in the act. Some of the biggest doping scandals of all time hover around baseball. There are other sports where athletes have been named and shamed for doping such as athletics, football (soccer), bodybuilding, professional wrestling, etc...
Below is a list of some of the athletes who were caught doping in their respective sports and it broke the hearts of fans who had followed them so loyally.
15 Floyd Landis
Floyd Landis enjoyed the rare feat of having been a professional cyclist for a relatively short time (seven years) before he won the Tour de France in 2006. Not many had considered him a favourite heading into that competition, though he was certainly not written off. It was testament of his cycling ability.
Favourites Jans Ullrich and Ivan Baso withdrew from the race and all of a sudden, Landis was the favourite. He started the Tour poorly but made up for it with a scarcely believable solo breakaway (20 km) at the 17th stage to eventually win the race. However, that would be a short-lived victory as he tested positive for banned substances and was therefore given a two-year ban from cycling.
14 Roger Clemens
Jose Canseco published a book named “Juiced” where he opened up on many sins of baseball. In the book, he claimed that Roger Clemens was more than well versed on steroid use. The Mitchell Report about the use of steroids in baseball named Clemens no less than 82 times in total. In fact, he was said to have extensively used anabolic steroids, amphetamines and human growth hormone. His personal strength coach, Brian McNamee, even admitted that he had given Clemens injections of Winstrol between the 1998 and 2001 baseball seasons.
13 Diego Maradona
June 25, 1994, during the USA ’94 World Cup, Diego Maradona was escorted by a blonde nurse to the doping control. He was still smiling as she led him away by the hand. The 1986 World Cup icon tested positive for norephedrine and ephedrine and was hence suspended for the rest of the tournament.
Stunned, Argentina exited the competition at the last 16 stage with a 3-2 loss to Romania. This positive test would prove to be the last straw of Maradona’s football career. The image of Maradona being escorted by the nurse is one that may never leave the minds of many Argentine fans who witnessed it either live or on TV.
12 Rafael Palmeiro
The word “baseball” is somewhat synonymous with doping. Rafael Palmeiro is yet another baseball star to have been named by Jose Canseco in that book “Juiced”. Canseco himself admitted/claimed he injected Palmeiro with anabolic steroids.
Palmeiro, for his part, denied having used steroids (under oath in a Congressional hearing). Even so, he was handed a 10-day suspension in August 2005, having tested positive for another banned substance, stanozolol. As many athletes over the years have, Palmeiro still insists that he has never used steroids in his life. He even claimed that the positive test was a result of B12, which he had injected himself with.
11 Shoeless Joe Jackson
Unlike many names on this list, this had nothing to do with PEDs or even recreational drugs. This entry is due to the 1919 Chicago White Sox, infamously known as the Black Sox, for throwing the World Series to the Reds. Although, Joe Jackson's numbers in the series show no evidence of him throwing a game, he was blacklisted from baseball after light of this scandal came to light. It was a heartbreaking moment in the game for everybody as the innocence of baseball died with the Black Sox.
10 Marion Jones
A role model for many people around the world, Marion Jones was revered for her accomplishments on the track.
In the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Marion Jones, having targeted all gold, won three gold medals and two bronze. Though it was significantly below what she had hoped for, it was still impressive. No other female athlete in history had ever accomplished as much.
In 2007, though, she confessed that she had been using anabolic steroids to improve her performances. This was after years of denying the rumours that constantly followed her. She even denied in front of a couple of grand juries that she had never ever used the drug. It is unfortunate that today her name is almost always mentioned in the same sentence as the words “doping”, “steroids” and “cheating”.
9 Ben Johnson
At the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson won a bronze medal. Throughout 1987, he was plagued with injuries that threatened to seriously derail his career. However, at the Seoul 1988 Olympics, Johnson was still considered by many a favorite for the medal places.
He won the 100 metre final in a then record of 9.79 seconds. However, tests showed that he had used stanozolol, and was therefore disqualified.
8 Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez admitted that between 2001 and 2003, he used anabolic steroids to improve his performances. His reasons for taking the drugs was that he was under a lot of pressure to perform at peak levels all the time. This admission came in 2009, some six years after a drug survey conducted on MLB players (in which a staggering 104 tested positive). The survey was done on condition the players’ identities would remain anonymous. It was done so the MLB could know whether or not compulsory drug testing of athletes was required.
The list of names, which was supposed to have been destroyed, was seized and then subpoenaed during the BALCO investigation.
7 Jose Canseco
Another baseball star; another doping scandal. Jose Canseco, in 2005, published the book “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big”. Here, he revealed many “secrets” of the game, naming himself and various teammates who had used performance enhancing drugs over the years. He even claimed that he had given injections to many of these players himself. As a result of the book (which became a New York Times bestseller), many of the people named were subpoenaed before a number of House committees to testify to the doping allegations.
6 Barry Bonds
Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds’ personal trainer, was brought before a grand jury in 2003, where he was charged with providing anabolic steroids to various professional athletes. Bonds claimed before the jury that the substance he had been given by Anderson (and used) was a simple clear substance, which Anderson had told him was flaxseed oil; and a cream, which Anderson had told him was topical arthritic cream.
Barry Bonds was charged with obstruction of justice as well as four counts of perjury in 2007 after his testimony in the BALCO scandal.
5 Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova, much like Marion Jones, was a role model to female athletes everywhere. However, earlier this year, she tested positive for meldonium, a recently banned substance. She claimed that she has been using the drug (under the name mildronate) for ten years for various health reasons and did not know that it was on a WADA banned list. This is despite the fact that she received an email listing all the substances that are currently banned (an email she claimed not to have seen).
Sharapova was hence provisionally banned from playing tennis professionally.
4 Chris Benoit
WWE will continue to deny that steroids were the cause of the double murder-suicide that Benoit was responsible for (understandably). However, as a star in the wrestling business (pre- and during his WWE days), Chris Benoit succumbed to the pressures of the job and extensively used anabolic steroids.
According to the coroner, the double murder-suicide he was accused of were not the result of the excessive testosterone found in his system (and subsequent roid rage).
However, the fact remains Chris Benoit used steroids lengthily for many, many years; so much so he had to undergo a treatment program, which is the reason he had such high levels of testosterone in him.
3 Adrian Mutu
His was not so much performance enhancement as it was recreational drug use. Adrian Mutu cost Chelsea £15.8 million in transfer fees alone. Many players in the Premier League at the time were known to have been recreational cocaine users. Many clubs opted to send their players to rehab discreetly rather than cause a massive scandal.
Chelsea, though, did not take too kindly to Mutu’s behaviour, and they promptly fired him for what they described as “gross misconduct”. The club’s reasoning was that they had absolutely no tolerance for drug use of its players, hence why they opted to completely write off that investment.
2 Hulk Hogan
This revelation was part of the reason the wrestling business embarked on a new era. After denying steroid use on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1992. It was later revealed of course that Hogan had in fact been using steroids, although not at the hands of WWE.
Hogan returned briefly to the company in 1993 after a leave of absence in midst of the scandal, where he looked a lot lighter, furthering the notion he was coming off steroids. To see this from the man who had been such a role model to children for so many years was heartbreaking.
1 Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong’s name has been linked with doping for years and years. In fact, throughout the mid-to-latter part of his career, his name was often mentioned together with words like “doping” and “cheating”. As any athlete normally would, Armstrong denied these allegations for years and years.
Federal prosecutors got a grand jury to investigate Armstrong’s doping charges between 2010 and 2012. It was a meticulous process, but it ended without any charges being filed against Armstrong in 2012. In January 2013 during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong confessed to doping.