The first time that I was introduced to a drug that wasn't Vitamin C or a salt pill was in 1963 in St. Louis at the National Men's Outdoor Amateur Athletic Union Championships. A salesman from Riker Co. was at the meet with samples of a drug called Norflex which was to be taken before competitions in order to relax the muscles and prevent muscle pulls and at the same time would not inhibit reflex action. I was given a bottle of Norflex with the knowledge that other "great" athletes had used the drug.
And by the way, I started taking Norfles that next spring and continued taking Norfiex for the next seven years. In the Fall of 1963, while I was training at the University of Washington on the track and field team, I noticed football players talking about "darving" it up for practice. What this meant was that football players were taking from two to four Darvons (a form of pain killer) before practice to dull the pain in their heads from spear tackling. Spear tackling was introduced at Washington in the late fifties by Jim Owens head Coach at the University of Washington. Rich Sortun a star college football player at Washington in the early 1960's and a six-year veteran of the NFL related how an assistant coach at Washington used to surreptitiously slip the players bennies before each game. In most training rooms, there is a dispensary that will give you a Vitamin C or salt pill just by turning the dial. This becomes a habit for most athletes before or after practice to just pop a few pills in the mouth.
Besides Norflex which I was introduced to the year before and I took because of tightness in my hamstring, I started taking daily vitamin C and sodium chloride pills with potassium, calcium, B-12 and mineral pills. That next year (1964 in the Cow Palace) I pulled a hamstring muscle and experienced a feeling of frustration and helplessness because 1964 was an Olympic year and I wanted to make the Olympic team.
In Log Angeles in 1964, while the Olympic team was preparing for the Games, free vitamins were handed out by a Mr. Hoffman, owner of a brand of high protein and multi-vitamin products. I picked up my free samples which included protein powder, minerals and a variety of vitamins. At the Olympics in Tokyo that year I started using daily doses of ploteiu. vitamins and minerals and experienced an allergic reaction. I repeated the heavy doses in 1966 and experienced a much worse reaction of fever blisters and swollen wrists and extreme itching. As you might -see my introduction to drugs was gradual and did not include a point in time that led me to question significantly the marginal difference between say vitamins, muscle relaxers or even anti-infiammatory. And I do not think many athletes see any difference or problems in taking vitamin or dietary simplemeats and restorative drugs such as much relaxers or anti-inflannnatory pills.
In 1967, 1 left the University of Washington after two years of graduate school and moved to Southern California as an Air Force Officer and competed for both the Air Force and the Southern California striders. These were my most active competitive years. I competed on eight national teams during that period and quickly became aware of new types of drugs in highly competitive track and field. It was in Los Angeles that I met athletes that were heavily taking drugs, some of which I had never heard discussed before. This whole business of drugs in sports is a very secretive affair and athletes guard new types of drugs that they are using against possible use by other competitors. One prominent Los Angeles track and field weight man actually had a hospital cart to hold syrings, medication and paraphenalia. He indicated to me if I really wanted to become "great". I would need to take the following drugs tan day:
Winstrol (anabolic steroid) : Four tablets of two milligrams a day. Two in the morning and twa at night.
LillyBetalin Series, B-12, 10cc; B Complex and 'Vitamin C, 10cc.
Thiamine Hydrochloride. 30 cc.
Itulivite (Liver Injection), 30cc, (Supply of Injector [21 gauge 1%.1)-..
Indocine: four tablets at night on full stomach, three nights in a row.
Decagesic: four a dayS:00 a.tn., 12:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. every day.
In 1970, because of the drug tests in Munich and the Olympic trials, this athlete decided to stop using amphetamines and mentioned to me after being off amphetamines for two months that during the time he was using amphetamines be had experienced a personality change. I can personally attest to this statement after watching and talking with him for several years. I decided not to take any amphetamines daring practice or competition because of the possibility of dependency but I was much more in doubt about the use of anabolic steriods. This was a difficult period for me because I wanted to be a world class athlete and I was seeing friends improve their performances through steriods and amPhetamines. My awareness of all these drugs became evident at high altitude training at South Lake Tahoe in 1968. The top eight athletes in each event had been assembled at South Lake Tahoe for a two-month training camp. Dr. Thomas Waddell, a physician as well as an active competitor and who himself placed sixth in the Mexico City Olympic Decathlon, stated that over one-third of the U.S. track and field team was using anabolic steriod during pre-Olympic high altitude training in 1968. Some administered the drug orally, others through injections. One-third is a high incident rate since the long distance runners and certain other events do not need to take anabolic steriods.
Recent conversations with athletes and workers during the 1972 competitive season indicated that many of the highly competitive schools are heavily using anabolic steriods and to a lesser degree other drugs. The athletes and toadies from these highly competitive schools such as say USC and UCLA. make the national teams and are exposed to drug usage by national athletes. Another source of information for college teams are athletes that are world class that train with the college teams. I myself trained at UCLA for four years. I took anabolic steriods last year and experienced a slight increase of weight and strength but I did not resolve the morality issue in my own mind. I was convinced that if done properly with the proper doses it would not affect my health. In many ways the advent of drugs into sport was something that led me away from active competition. One of my justifications for taking steriods was the knowledge that my competitors might defeat me not because of my lark of ability but because of not taking drugs. Anabolic steriods are by no means the way drug used by athletes and neither is track and field the only sport where drug use is prevalent. At the 1970 World Weightlifting championship in Columbus, Ohio. nine of the first twelve medalists were disqualified when urine tests revealed the weightlifters had taken amphetamines. Weightlifters had called the test "ridiculous" since weightlifters have used amphetamines quite regularly for years. And in baseball, Chuck Dobson, a pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, publicly admitted he used "greenies". "When you've got the flu and you've got to pitch, what are you going to do ?"
Today it's a great rarity for someone to achieve athletic success who doesn't take drugs. I normally assume that the winner of a sports contest is one who has a better pharmacist than his opponent. Drug usage has gone to such extremes that you are handicapped in competition if you don't take some. The way drug usage has accelerated, it seems inconceivable that one could hold his own without drugs." Holding your own means more than just taking steriods and amphetamines. Athletic inquries or the use of restorative drugs for the injuries such as painkillers, anti-inflammatory, enzymes, muscle relaxers, tranquilizers, and barbituates are probably the most widely used set of drugs. Every athlete who has had an injury and has not been able to perform knows the desperation the athlete feels especially if his livelihood depends on performance.
ply experience with track and field plus being an athletic director over such sports as college football tells me that many coaches equate the proof of manhood with performing. Given these pressures it is no wonder that such things as playing with severe injuries occur.