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Floyd Landis, professional cyclist who recently had 2006 Tour de France victory overturned due to doping  (Source: Reuters)
Investigation cracks open world ring of online steroid distribution

This week the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) capped the largest ever crackdown on illegal steroids and growth hormones.  The international investigation, Operation Raw Deal, involved nine countries and yielded staggering results.  Are you ready for this?

In the U.S. 56 labs were shutdown with police authorities arresting more than 120 people.  Materials seized included 242 kilograms of raw steroid powder - equivalent to over 11 million doses -- 11.4 million dosage units, 71 weapons, including automatic assault rifles, 27 pill presses, 25 land vehicles, three boats, and $6.5 million in cash.  

After the DEA shutdown BALCO’s performance-enhancing drug ring four years ago you may be wondering what nation(s) are the source of these illicit materials.  

As it turns out the "wild west" of the east is up to no good again.  Although head DEA investigator John Gilbride cited the country’s cooperation, it was found that 99 percent of the raw material was produced and exported by China. Certainly embarrassing of the country slated to host next year's Summer Olympics.

U.S. distributors were able to easily order the unrefined powder over the internet and process it at home, using unsanitary devices such as bathroom sinks and tubs to mix the drugs.  These dealers distributed their products to end users largely via internet forums and social sites such as MySpace and ChemicallyEvolved.com.  The latter site, a bodybuilding forum that was accessible this morning, is offline this afternoon.  

The DEA now has thousands of names of clients and although it has not divulged individual identities, the department commented that users ranged from athletes to law enforcement workers to ordinary people who just wanted to look good.  It likely won't be long before the names of professional superstars will be leaked and released to the media.

Governing sports agencies in the United States and across the world have endured a long battle against the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.  The National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) are two long-standing organizations that have had to create better rules to attempt to combat the use of steroids.  State athletic comissions, the Nevada State Athletic Commission being the best example, are responsible for sanctioning sports such as professional boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA).

Professional American cyclist Floyd Landis, winner of the 2006 Tour de France cycling race, recently had his title stripped due to a positive doping test last year.  MMA fighter Sean Sherk, former light heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), tested positive for anabolic steroid nandrolone, causing him to be stripped of his title, fined and suspended.  Professional athletes ranging from baseball, football, weight lifting, wrestling entertainment, swimming and sprinting also have tested positive for various performance enhancing drugs.


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Juiced Leagues
By therealnickdanger on 9/28/2007 3:48:15 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously, I'm at the point where I want to see just how far the human body can be pushed and what records can be broken. Start up pro-steroid variants of each sport. People obviously want to take them, despite the risks. I say let them attach bionic limbs and consume uber-drugs. Maybe when the juiced, superstar record-breakers start dying off from heart problems two years into their careers, people will actually realize the dangers involved.

I still think Landis is innocent. There was more than enough for reasonable doubt.




RE: Juiced Leagues
By Michael Hoffman on 9/28/2007 3:55:02 PM , Rating: 4
A couple of obvious problems with leagues designed for cheaters:
A). Cheaters will still participate in the "clean" leagues.
B). Many of these drugs are illegal to own and/or distribute, which means the government will not condone any such league.

As to the whole Landis scandal, the final nail in the coffin for him IMO was the discovery of synthetic testerone that his body physically couldn't produce.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By Hypernova on 9/28/2007 4:47:35 PM , Rating: 1
How about a league where you don't get tested but anyone who joins is banned from normal ones if they ever join?


RE: Juiced Leagues
By 16nm on 9/28/2007 5:03:06 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
As to the whole Landis scandal, the final nail in the coffin for him IMO was the discovery of synthetic testerone that his body physically couldn't produce.


What I found interesting was that 1. Testosterone does not help endurance athletes and certainly not when taken just hours before an event, and 2.) the artificial testosterone found could have been injected into the urine sample and it would have been impossible to tell the difference with the test used. I wondered if Landis' legal team ever had the idea to test the concentration of testosterone in both urine samples to see if they are at the exact same level. If not, it would seem to indicate sabotage. And why not use HGH if you are going to cheat? There is no test for HGH. All elite level cyclists know that testosterone is tested. It was all so suspicious. Landis comes off as a very honest person, but I certainly don't know the man.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By Mitch101 on 9/28/2007 5:31:56 PM , Rating: 1
I dont know the name but Boxing has been known to have used ones prior to an event. I would assume its how its taken. Oral maybe but injected I would imagine would have some immediate benefit. Maybe those nasal ones that were used in the past olympics that were at the time undetectable.

Of course if its in cycling in the tour de france then every american is on them because we couldnt possibly be better than french cyclists naturally.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By chsh1ca on 9/30/2007 9:54:52 AM , Rating: 2
Consider also -- Who would watch a "cheaters" league? Look at the flak Barry Bonds got.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By Silver2k7 on 10/1/2007 5:16:48 AM , Rating: 2
If everone got the chanse to use as much chemical stuff that they wanted to.. it wouldn't be a cheaters league, it would be the same deal for anyone who joined.. personally I think it would be interessting to see how far people could get. And yeah obviousley it should all be on their own risks to join.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By murphyslabrat on 10/1/2007 12:57:53 PM , Rating: 1
Four precedents:
1. WWEF! We all know it's fake, yet some of us still watch it. While I still think that those who do are silly, silliness has a place in entertainment.
2. I don't know how if anyone else has ever done this, but in Jedi Knight II, I always got a blast from observing cheater/cogger matches. They were ridiculous: sheets of thermal detonators, force-blasting E-11 rifles, flying people, bricks/ships spontaniously appearing, 30-foot double-ended-lightsabers, dissapearing floors, and people who survived this onslaught due to invincibility. Fast-paced, harmless fun, even to the characters. ;j
3. The circus. Again, weirdness, huge men, impossibly talented animal handlers (or just lazy animals, more often the case), etc.
4. Movies. We know about the wires, mattresses, stunt-men, CG imagery, etc. Yet, when we see Jet-Li kick a guy across the room, we go, "Woah!"

And tell me you wouldn't get a kick out of someone who, for instance, could spontaneously leap 50 feet in the air. Bionic legs and drugs aside, that'd still be cool to see. Admittedly, you would need a good landing strategy as well.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By Andrew Campbell on 9/28/2007 5:57:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's funny that you should suggest a juiced up league. I've heard this jokingly suggested by bike racer buddies of mine.

As for Floyd, he certainly seems to believe he's innocent. Unfortunately he may have been dosed without his knowledge. Between eating at restaurants, taking water bottles, and getting worked on by soigners there is a huge potential for someone to slip him the testosterone.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By Ringold on 9/28/2007 11:21:06 PM , Rating: 2
Europe wanted a win at any cost and it got one. They ought to be ashamed but a W is a W.

I suppose next year we'll be smarter and take a Mexico approach (don't drink the local water) and win yet again.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By djkrypplephite on 9/29/2007 1:44:10 PM , Rating: 4
I agree. We should also have matrix-style computer plugs in our heads and laser vision. Exploding lasers. The kind you see in movies, we don't just melt stuff, we blow it the hell up somehow. Hey there though, if people really want to mess themselves up hardcore and just see how much their body can take, I say we let them do it. I mean hell, that's like a voluntary guinea pig for medical testing.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By murphyslabrat on 10/1/2007 1:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
we don't just melt stuff, we blow it the hell up somehow.

If you superheat something fast enough, you will get an explosion. It won't necessarily be a flashy explosion, of television fame; but it will, depending on the material and intesnity of the L.A.S.E.R., result in a small poof and lack of said object.

Nitpicking aside, that would be cool. It'd be more messed up than WWEF, and would be more akin to Ultimate Robot Fighting in Futurama. Just imagine all of the technological increases of the past several years alone: the prototype mecha-style legs, increased battery W/H capacity, the gyros of those little parallel-wheeled scooters (whatever they're called), etc.

It could be the biggest thing since Shakespeare! And, due to the short life-span of the contestants, we could use UT:T style selection (get prisoners and miners, pay them lotsa money, and enjoy not having to pay corpses). Modern day Colosseum.


RE: Juiced Leagues
By 16nm on 10/1/2007 6:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
you will get an explosion. It won't necessarily be a flashy explosion, of television fame ; but it will,


You must mean a MacGyver type explosion. Yeah, MacGyver could take a toothpick and a paperclip and blow a crater sized hole in the side of the earth if he so pleased.


Update
By JasonMick (blog) on 9/28/2007 3:22:35 PM , Rating: 6
According to an exclusive breaking story at Sports Illustrated, BALCO investigators have discovered that BALCO supplied boxer "Sugar" Shane Mosley with EPO "the Cream" and "the Clear", similar to Barry Bond's regiment, during his training prior to his 2003 fight with Oscar De LaHoya.

Check out the full story here:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/more/09/28/m...

Mosley won the fight, and many observers noted that judges were particularly impressed by "his endurance in later rounds". No suprise as the man had a Hemocrit level of 52, the week before the fight due to EPO doping (a normal man is in the low 40s...50 is unbelievable).

Hopefully the boxing commissions will take some action. Mosley has an upcoming WBC welterweight title fight on Nov. 10 against Miguel Cotto.




RE: Update
By Puddyglum1 on 9/28/2007 4:05:33 PM , Rating: 2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemocrit
quote:
It is normally 45 ± 7 (38-52%) for males
52% is the upper-crust of normal HTC levels, with 45 being in the middle.

The fact that Shane Mosley was supplied from BALCO is more than enough for his career to be suspended.


RE: Update
By Ringold on 9/28/2007 11:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
You're a boxing fan too then?

I like you more already.

That's a shame, though. I respect althetes that can do things naturally and honestly much more than those who, in weakness and insecurity, turn to alternative methods.


By Michael Hoffman on 9/28/2007 4:14:02 PM , Rating: 5
Aside from all of the professional athletes who are cheating, I am more worried about the number of young people who are turning to steroids and other drugs. The problem appears to be growing at a high enough rate that there have been some proposals to begin steroid testing in high school.

Researchers began taking steroid use in high school seriously about 10 years ago - http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVol12N4/stero...

A steroid link from 2003 - http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/20...

The football coach where I attended my senior year of high school grabbed headlines after trying to crackdown steroid use.

It should be interesting to see how many athletic programs are willing to try and start testing athletes for banned substances.

Andrew and I are both familiar with cyclists and other athletes who use certain illegal drugs to help enhance performance. Even though almost all of them will obviously not become a professional cyclist, there is a certain level of pride and ego that pushes some cyclists to start using drugs.




By HaZaRd2K6 on 9/28/2007 10:50:18 PM , Rating: 2
Well it doesn't surprise me that some high school-level athletes will turn to steroids. All you really have to do is look at the elite athletes at that level of sport. I know three guys from my high school baseball team that went to the States to play college ball, and they aren't really big guys. Most of them are average height and build, so I wouldn't think they used steroids.

Although I'm sure there are athletes who do. Yes, I understand that there may be quite a few 6'6", 250lb pitchers playing high school ball in Canada, but three on one team is a little excessive (I've seen it happen, and played against a team like that). Then again, they might just scout for talent (although it's frowned upon at the high school level, it's fine for leagues outside school) and come up winners. But I think it's a very good idea to start testing for steroids in high school. I'm sure it'd turn up some interesting results.

All you have to do, really, is ask yourself if you were in high school and had a legitimate shot at making it to a higher level of sport, would you not do something to help that chance? A lot of people would say yes.


Title is a bit too grandiose IMO.
By 91TTZ on 10/1/2007 7:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
Biggest bust in "world history"? Why don't you just say "biggest bust in the history of this universe or any other universe"?




By murphyslabrat on 10/1/2007 1:21:37 PM , Rating: 2
Because, since you don't know that there aren't any other universes, you risk being wrong. Even if we never know about any other universe, or if they don't actually exist, you still might be offending some little green man.

Gotta remember to be politically correct.


By Andrew Campbell on 10/2/2007 3:12:38 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you for your discerning criticism. I humbly pledge to henceforth abstain from making such excessively embellished statements.


I cant wait.
By Mitch101 on 9/28/2007 5:51:29 PM , Rating: 1
You know I am a big guy naturally and can leg press 1200lbs and rep it. 400+ on the bench isnt a problem 500 little tough because I have a long reach. Hey I am getting older now so dont pick on me.

I am looking forward to how this effects some of the kids in my gym I know are on them. The water retention is a dead giveaway. Bad attitude is not despite what you think.

Going to be interesting when I am the biggest guy in the gym because thier supply ran out. :)

Never took them because I have a phobia of needles and the pills are what a lot of the liver stories are from. Patch and nasal I think are reserved for Russian athletes. With kids I wont even chance it. I may when I am 60+ because I dont want to be a decrepid little man too feeble to move around but until then the gym in the next 3 months is going to be interesting.




RE: I cant wait.
By Silver2k7 on 10/1/2007 5:34:53 AM , Rating: 2
544 kg (1200lbs) w00t now I feel weak :P
*never used a leg press btw, but using my bicycle almost daily*

Bought a pair of 9kg dumbells recently and 20kg boxes and stuff at work already feels easier to carry.
Training isn't half bad :)


That was quick
By littlebitstrouds on 9/28/2007 3:40:31 PM , Rating: 2
I was in the bathroom and two guys came in and were talking about this very thing... funny thing is, they were pissed that their major supplier got caught. I guess he was the biggest bust in U.S. history. Guess they guys were his lackey's... kinda funny that this is the first thing I see when I get back to my desk.




"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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