Taylor Hooton Foundation > Hoot’s Corner > General > Bodybuilding: "Steroid use is now so widespread it is akin to breast surgery or botox"
July 27, 2015
Bodybuilding: "Steroid use is now so widespread it is akin to breast surgery or botox"
Six-time Mr Olympia Dorian Yates
Six-time Mr Olympia Dorian Yates

Dorian Yates won six Mr Olympia titles in the 1990s in a sport in which performance-enhancing substances are “an integral part”. And he says not only are the current policing of such drugs in mainstream sport a waste of time but believes steroid use is now so widespread it is akin to breast surgery or botox.

“Does anyone seriously think there are no drugs in Olympic sports just because they do some kind of testing?” said Yates. “They are highly competitive sports with highly competitive people and, just with competitive business, people do whatever they can to get ahead.

“Maybe in bodybuilding, because it is such a small sport, we can be totally honest and say, ‘look, it is part of the sport, we use steroids’, whereas if you are part of athletics, or one of these mainstream sports with TV and sponsors, you could never say that.

“People see these guys on TV and it is all squeaky clean – but it would be so naive to think that if you could take something that would increase your performance by whatever, two per cent, five per cent, 10 per cent, one per cent, even half a per cent, it is not being used. People could not afford not to take it.

“But it’s not like you are putting a rocket pack on your back in the 200m, you still have to run it, it is still your body, you’re enhancing an aspect of it.”

Yates claims that there are various ways to avoid a positive test and that is making sport more dishonest. “There are so many ways round the test that it is more honest to say, ‘we don’t do the test’,” he said. “It’s just a cosmetic exercise to say to the public, ‘hey, we do testing, we don’t want drugs in the sport’.

“It would be more honest if testing was abolished. With the drug tests throughout the ages, you actually create more of an imbalance because the people with the funding and the doctors can really avoid getting a positive [test] and they will be at a bigger advantage than someone from a poor country or with less facilities. So does testing make it a fairer or even sport?”

The IFBB, the governing body for bodybuilding, became an official signatory to the WADA anti-doping code in 2003 and officially says it tests its athletes.

“I never see bodybuilding on the sports page and it is not considered to be a sport because of the drug question, because of steroids,” said Yates. “Steroids are used, they are an integral part of professional bodybuilding.

There is no testing because, if you buy a ticket and you see someone run 100metres in under 10 seconds, you will not want to buy a ticket to see someone run 100m in 10 and a half or 11 seconds. It’s the same thing with professional bodybuilding.

“But steroids are so widespread that guys are using them as a cosmetic improvement just as girls are getting a breast implants or botox.”