Japan Times interviews Victor Conte on athletics’ PED scandal; Conte claims asthma enhalers used as PED by majority of 2004 Olympic US Boxing Team


“When the boxer asked the coaches why he should use the inhaler if he didn’t have any problems breathing, they told him that it would help him to perform better. . . . Yes, Olympic boxing coaches were trying to give these asthma inhalers to the U.S. boxers in an attempt to enhance their performances.”

Also, Conte discusses his belief that synthetic testosterone use, a la Lamont Peterson, is widespread in boxing.

Ed Odeven reports.

6 thoughts on “Japan Times interviews Victor Conte on athletics’ PED scandal; Conte claims asthma enhalers used as PED by majority of 2004 Olympic US Boxing Team

  1. Good article.

    Reading about the exemptions called TUEs cannot surprise me. The general trend in American life is toward a lurid pharmacopia: pills for every occasion, including those not even imagined yet. Does Ireland have the same mania, for instance, to push ADHD meds on students to induce better concentration? Some years ago, this trend metastasized here to the point that parents of kids NOT diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder began demanding the pills for their kids, too — they feared advantages accruing to their children’s doped peers.

    As against this creeping cultural acceptance — and let’s be blunt: vast profit-taking by Big Pharma and the terror of school administrators hoping to narcotize our violence-plagued schools into a somatic tranquility — I think there’s an increasingly harder task before reformers to carve out athletics as an arena that must be drug-free. If successful, they will create the only drug-free zone in the whole bloody society.

    • The ease with which athletes procure unnecessary TUEs in order to dope is a big problem in sport. I’ve heard of Irish students using pills to study for exams, but nothing like America.

      You’ve hit the central point on the head: society is obsessed with artificial performance enhancement, so how can we expect sport to be any different? When the financial elite of America turn to ‘anti-ageing clinics’ for HGH and synthetic testosterone in their mid 30s, then of course athletes at the elite level are going to look for the same fountain of youth formula.

      This article on that subject is worth perusing: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-finkelman/performanceenhancing-drug_b_78675.html

  2. Thoughtful writing by Finkelman. Thanks for that.

    I can see many reasons to test for doping. The one most persuasive to me is the re-humanization it thinly promises a sporting world screwed up by capitalism. Ideally we should want to know which men or women win a contest — not which drugs power them to victory.

    I say thinly because I’m far from convinced sport is popularly enjoyed for any other reason than winning. Bragging rights, betting pools, aggrandizements of ethnicity and nationalism, to say nothing of purses and broadcasting fees all hinge on winning rather than fair play. I don’t want it to be so, but I think it is so. I never see a crowd as happy as when the opposing team or opponent is thoroughly humiliated. (Here in the US midwest all customary gentility is forgotten on a Sunday, and when it can my state glories in heaping misery on adjoining Wisconsin, home of the accursed Packers. It all evens out: they send us their meth, haha.) And there is nothing quite like the KO, is there? The golden exclamation point in all of sport: symbolic decapitation.

    We may have to adopt other ideals if doping is to be brought under control. That’s in addition to what you have neatly catalogued on your site regarding conflicts of interest, imperfect technology and other problems.

    • You’re welcome.

      Good analysis as always, Richard. Sport in its ideal form (more like imagined form, it was never this way) is a fair competition between athletes, but when you add money into the equation, a transformation into a battle of the chemists is inevitable. Winning is everything, whatever the cost.

      To quote disgraced PED peddler/current boxing S&C coach, Memo Heredia: “If all federations and sponsors and managers, and athletes and coaches agree and use all the money that brings the sport, and if every athlete is checked twice a week – only [then can the fight against doping be won]. What happens now is ludicrous. Alibi. You should save the money – give it to me, and I distribute among the orphans in Mexico! As long as there is commercial sports, shoe contracts, which are linked to performance, and the television contracts, doping will exist. Unless we return to the ancient sport back without any money. Without television, without Adidas and Nike. It’s obvious: Who will get eighth in the major sports events $ 5000, and who will get the first, 100,000. In thinking of the athletes, and he thinks that all the other dope anyway, and he’s right. And your dream is that an athlete believes in morals and ideas? Clean top performance is a myth, my friend.”

      Worth noting that although Victor Conte falls under the same description as I’ve given Heredia above, he has atoned somewhat for his sins by aiding anti-doping authorities, pulling back the curtain, and I consider him to be a credible anti-doping voice (hence why I often quote him in anti-doping discussions)…although I’d probably prefer if he stayed out of dealing on a personal basis with athletes after what he’s done in the past.

      Doping will never really be brought under control, at least not in our lifetime. In the meantime, the glib ‘our sport is clean and any cheaters are just a few bad apples’ statements from IAAF/UCI/any governing body that is criticized makes for consistently good belly-laughs.

      Incidentally, I’ll be #TeamGatlin for the upcoming athletics’ world championships, if only for a desire to see everybody who watches be forced to confront the doping problem if he, as expected, defeats everybody’s hero, the blatantly juiced-to-the-gills Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

  3. Pingback: August 14th’s Random Boxing Rants | pound 4 pound ireland

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