Although Dianabol (Dbol) did not make it to the US market until the around 1960, Russian pharmaceutical companies were producing it as early as the 1930s. In fact, Russian Olympic athletes caught the attention of a Maryland doctor during the 1960 games, and suspicion grew concerning their use of “elixirs” to boost their performance.
The Discovery of Testosterone
In 1889, Charles Brown-Sequard extracted compounds from the testicles of dogs and guinea pigs. He marketed this as a “rejuvenating elixir” and unlike many similar products in that era, this one actually worked. It was the very first product containing testosterone to make its way to the public. A few decades later, two men named Ruzicka and Butenandt earned a Nobel Prize in chemistry for successfully synthesizing testosterone in a laboratory. Thus began the era of anabolic steroids.
The First Accusations
It was not until 1952 that people accused Russian athletes of using testosterone to enhance their performance at the Olympic Games in Helsinki. Many people were in on these accusations, including athletes and coaches from other countries. One of these people, Dr. John Bosley Ziegler, a renowned Maryland physician specializing in sports medicine, claims that the Soviet Union wrestling team coach admitted to dosing his athletes with testosterone. Because the Russian team performed so well in the 1952 games, Ziegler decided to look into the matter further.
The Development of Dianabol by CIBA Pharmaceuticals
Many people mistakenly think that Dr. Ziegler developed Dbol shortly after realizing how anabolic steroids boosted performance among the Russians, but this is not the case. He took his thoughts to a group of scientists, some of whom worked for CIBA, a Swiss pharmaceutical company. They worked tirelessly not only to develop the synthesized testosterone, but also to make it better. They did just that by removing a carbon atom from the molecular compound. In 1958, Dbol made its grand entrance thanks to CIBA, and coaches gave it to the US Olympic weightlifting team who performed much better in the following games, even rivalling the Russians.
The Rise and Fall of Steroids in the Olympics
Now that the Russian and American teams were both performing extremely well in the Olympic Games, more and more countries started using it. Disaster began to strike, though, and some Olympic athletes died because of their steroid use. (Bear in mind that coaches knew little about proper doses an side effects at this time, though.) Throughout the next decade, many athletes, including the American Olympic track and field team, prepared for the 1968 Olympics with testosterone and its derivative, Dianabol. Seeing an unfair advantage and the deaths of a handful of athletes, the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, banned the use of steroids in the Olympics in 1975. Widespread testing began in 1978 and soon after Dbol made its way to the bodybuilding scene.
Although the benefits of Dianabol are numerous and this becomes obvious when reviewing Olympic athletic performances from 1952 to 1968, the IOC (and, since then, the US Government) banned Dbol and other anabolic steroids due to the dangers associated with them – and the unfair advantage they gave certain athletes. Since then, anabolic steroids have remained the center of much controversy. These days many people still use the steroid, although very carefully through the use of smart cycles, aromatase inhibitors and post cycle therapy.
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