On the surface, this may bе a silly question, but once a man delves into it, a new layer of the human world reveals itself. But first, let me drop the politically correct answer to this inquiry:
Mr. Olympia has been a drug tested event since the 90s. The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) which governs the contest adopted the protocols of the World Anti-Doping Agency a long time ago.
Consequently, the contestants in Mr. Olympia should, at least in theory, undergo random drug testing for both anabolic steroids and other banned PEDs (e.g., diuretics, growth hormone). One of the federation’s motifs to introduce those measures was to join the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
In 1990, the Mr. Olympia line-up faced doping control for the first time. The top contenders Lee Haney, Shawn Ray and Rich Gaspari passed the tests. Lee Haney took the 1st place trophy even though he was noticeably lighter than usual.
Below are the results from that year:
|Placings||Mr. Olympia 1990 Competitors|
The organizers took extra precaution to avoid the drug testing fiasco from the Arnold Classic earlier that year when four bodybuilders, including the winner Shawn Ray, got busted for PEDs.
The test samples were taken three days before the event (September 12th). A laboratory chosen by the IOC analyzed the urine samples of the competitors. The authorities did not reveal what kind of substances they were scanning for.
The athletes/beauty contestants welcomed IFBB’s ambition to “clean the name of the sport” and turn bodybuilding into an Olympic event.
“We want to get rid of the stigma that has surrounded bodybuilding,” said Lee Haney a day before winning the show. (source).
Mr. Olympia 1990 was the first tested show from the Olympia series, but the IFBB’s doping control actually dates back to the late 80s.
IFBB’s anti-doping rules, which can be found on the official site of the federation, state as follows:
“The IFBB first introduced doping control at the Men’s World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. In 1987, controls were expanded to include the Women’s World Championship and, in 1988, the Juniors & Masters World Championships became the final world-level competition to be controlled. By the early 1990’s, anti-doping programs were being implemented at the national, regional and continental levels.” (source)
Drug Tested vs. Natural
Passing a drug test does not make an athlete natural. It just means that their blood panel and urine sample are free of forbidden “ingredients”.
Some believe that the contestants in Mr. Olympia 1990 who didn’t test positive for PEDs relied more on oral steroids which leave the system within days and avoided oil-based anabolic drugs to pass the tests. As a result, the top dogs, apart from Mike Christian, were somewhat off on the day of the show.
Can Professional Bodybuilding Exist Without Steroids
Larry Scott won the first Mr. Olympia in 1965 weighing 208lbs (94.35kg) at 5’7” (170.18cm). At the time, anabolic steroids were widely available, and he wasn’t natural.
In an interview conducted by Brian D. Johnston, the legendary bodybuilder Sergio Oliva stated the following:
BDJ: Could you relay your own experience with drug use?
SO: This is an area of great interest for people. I don’t care who wants to take steroids, because that’s a personal choice… that’s his life. Now, today, everybody has access to them. I even saw in one of the big magazines that Arnold denies having used them, but Arnold was one of the first to bring steroids over to America. And everybody in the old days used them: Zane, Columbu, myself, Arnold, Larry Scott, Harold Poole, Dave Draper, and even Steve Reeves. There’s no way to deny it.”
Since 1965, the Olympians have been getting bigger, not smaller. It’s not a coincidence that every bodybuilding upgrade on amateur and professional level has been accompanied by a parallel advancement in the field of steroid chemistry.
Below you will find a chart of all Mr. Olympia victors until 2019. The table includes the winners’ weights, heights and FFMIs at 8% body fat.
Mr. Olympia Winners throughout the Years (1965-2019)
|1967-1969||Sergio Oliva||225 – 235lbs||102.06 – 106.59kg||5’10”||177.8cm||31|
|1970-1975||Arnold Schwarzenegger||225 – 235lbs||102.06 – 106.59 kg||6’2”||187.96cm||27.7|
|1976||Franco Columbo||185lbs||83.91 kg||5”5”||165.1cm||28.322|
|1980||Arnold Schwarzenegger||225 – 235lbs||102.06 kg – 106.59 kg||6’2”||187.96cm||27.7|
|1981||Franco Columbo||185lbs||83.91 kg||5”5”||165.1cm||28.322|
|1982||Chris Dickerson||184lbs||83.46 kg||5’6”||167.64cm||27.322|
|1983||Samir Bannout||196lbs||88.90 kg||5’7”||170.18cm||28.242|
|1984-1991||Lee Haney||248lbs||112.49 kg||5’10”||177.8cm||32.737|
|1992-1997||Dorian Yates||275lbs||124.74 kg||5’10.5”||179.07cm||36.301|
|1998-2005||Ronnie Coleman||287 – 300lbs||130.18 – 136.08kg||5’11”||180.34cm||38.494|
|2006-2007||Jay Cutler||260lbs||117.93 kg||5’10”||177.8cm||34.321|
|2009||Jay Cutler||260lbs||117.93 kg||5’10”||177.8cm||34.321|
|2010||Jay Cutler||260lbs||117.93 kg||5’10”||177.8cm||34.321|
|2011-2017||Phil Heath||240lbs||108.86 kg||5’9”||175.26cm||32.606|
|2019||Brandon Curry||217lbs||98.43 kg||5’7”||170.18cm||31.268|
Note 1: It’s virtually impossible to know the exact body fat levels of the bodybuilding gladiators. For that reason, I relied on a conservative estimate to calculate their theoretical FFMIs. Some competitors may have competed at a lower body fat percentage.
Note 2: The methodology used to determine the body fat levels of a bodybuilder influences the final body fat numbers too. DEXA Scans give higher readings (e.g., 8% BF) whereas as BOD POD tests show lower percentages such as 4% BF.
No Incentive to Ban Steroids
Anabolic steroids turn regular people into ultra-freaks showcasing extraterrestrial physiques attracting big crowds. The extra muscle synthesized with the help of drugs is precisely why many people find bodybuilding appealing.
Without the juice factor, the bodies of the competitors wouldn’t be nearly as magnificent in the eyes of the spectators. Moreover, the fans have already acclimated to certain standards. And since that conditioning has been going on since the first Mr. Olympia, one cannot expect from the architects to engineer a successful return to 100% drug-free competitions.
Truth be told, the fans don’t want to see natural brahs on stage anymore. After all, we live in an era when the abuse of steroids is rampant even among average men.
If the Olympians have been juicing since the dawn of time, what is the point of drug control in bodybuilding?
This is politically correct PR part of the “blue pill” realm that the “masterminds” want to protect at all costs. We live in a “pretense” culture, my friend. We pretend about everything…but most of all that we are happy. Those who dare to expose the false walls of the system are labeled as haters and expelled out of society directly or indirectly.
We raise the new generations in the same fashion by brainwashing them with concepts that have no validity on the battlefield. We tell them that the sky is the limit while hiding crucial dependencies and non-written rules. We keep the kids in a fairy tale for as long as possible. Somewhat ironically, I think that we need that fake world more than them.
As always, the truth exposes the gross bankruptcy of our society which is allegedly built on the basis of honesty and fair chance, and yet the world hypocritically continues to follow and reward the opposite behavior.