Leg Day Observer: Strength for a reason?
Steroids, olympic weightlifting, Barry Bonds, FP Santangelo, high jumps
Snake America is a newsletter covering vintage clothing (for GQ) and furniture (here) and strength sports (Inverse). Today: Olympic weightlifting and a larger steroids discussion.
Completed furniture auctions return Friday. Have a piece on Inverse today nominally previewing weekend action for Olympic weightlifting that touches on the steroids aspect of the sport:
Mega big read. Weightlifting, as some newsletter readers will know, was an obsession/beat of this newsletter about five years ago… Earlier this week news broke of the International Olympic Committee threatening to kick the sport out of the games because it’s so corrupt… to be too corrupt for the Olympics has to be filthy…
Weightlifting is both a fluid skill sport and a deeply steroid-abetted strength display… it’s up for debate how much of a difference steroids make — they don’t help athletes perform the skill so much as help them punish themselves enough to master an impossibly hard skill. To get good you have to practice all the time while getting stronger. It’s just about impossible without doping. Doping refers to testosterone/steroids that lifters take and which helps them recover from working out all the time. These are hazy concepts I can’t include in a vetted news article for Inverse.com.
The effect of steroids on weightlifting is something like baseball. I think about the Mitchell Report, where FP Santangelo was named on the list. If everyone in baseball was taking steroids, even players as median as Santangelo, then how much do drugs help? Maybe FPS wouldn’t have sniffed the Majors without them. Still. They’re not some magic thing. I think about Barry Bonds. It’s not like what the things steroids did for him they could do for anyone else. It’s not like he took steroids which were also on steroids… he was likely just doing what everyone else was doing and was worlds, eons much better…
The above is a New York Times story from 2004… the same applies to Olympic weightlifting. If all of my newsletter readers began a course of trenbolone I would first be quite happy, and second, not that much would happen. What’s required to lift a 2.5/3/2-time bodyweight weight over your head is just as much skill as strength. It’s not something achieved because of steroids, but with them… That said, it is just about impossible to get to this level of strength and success without cycling, and the way these sports in power countries recruit children and train them, if doses of trenbolone and dianobol are required and part of the economy, you can be sure the athlete has no insight or oversight here, or can ask out. They can’t… it’s a labor issue. That would have to be the worst part. Mostly what I am saying is that in weightlifting strength is both incidental and necessary… but the questions about having to build up and maintain insanely high strength levels is a Howard Hawkesian one. What work demands of a person, the alienation, what you miss out on… it reminds me of Cary Grant’s Geoff Carter character in Only Angels Have Wings… if you want a double bodyweight snatch you have to live on an island in the middle of nowhere and never hang out with anyone ever again. Seems like the grift comes from the top. It’s not like when this is all over these kids have good jobs or can go to grad school or something… some get pensions, or go into coaching. Effectively the business of weightlifting — of very many sports — is about eliding doping and fisking contracts. It’s similar to how the kosher label on foods is dependent more and more on people with chemistry doctorates going to factories in India and China and checking out the chemicals there. Masking a positive test is a skill, just like lifting a barbell over your head. It’s about fraud, and how complex it can be…
One wonders if there’s anything bad about steroids when it can make people do something like this. Maybe reality is meant to be altered. It is crazy. Also, does anyone know who this Italian person is who tried to hack into my Binance account? Thinking it’s either Pope Benedict XVI or Roberto Baggio. DM with leads.
Thanks for reading.