It's no secret that bodybuilders and athletes today often use large amounts of anabolic drugs, such as anabolic steroids, growth hormone, insulin, and others. The amount and extent of such drug use far exceed what was used in the past. Opinions differ as to precisely when the use of anabolic steroids became common in bodybuilding and sports. Some point to the Russian Olympic weightlifters. While accompanying the American Weightlifting team to an international competition in Vienna, Austria in October 1954, American Physician John B.Zeigler had a few drinks at a local bar with a Russian scientist affiliated with the Russian team. Zeigler asked him, "What are you giving your boys," meaning the weightlifters. The Russian scientist told Zeigler that they were given testosterone. Although testosterone was isolated in 1935, it had never been used for athletic purposes, although a popular book published in the 1940s did suggest that using testosterone would produce "super athletes." Despite this, there was scant evidence that this suggestion was ever actually employed by athletes until the Russians began using testosterone in the early 50s. Based on his conversation with the Russian scientist, Zeigler began experimenting with testosterone, using it himself and also providing it to several elite bodybuilders and Olympic weightlifters. While all of them gained weight and muscle, they all experienced some side effects, such as water retention. Zeigler then came up with a plan to develop a drug that would emphasize the anabolic properties of testosterone, which is associated with building muscle mass, while minimizing the androgenic effects, which was responsible for most of the side effects produced by testosterone, such as acne, male pattern baldness, and other effects.
Zeigler then began to research a more anabolic drug compared to testosterone. He even consulted old Nazi experimental work on anabolic compounds. The Nazis wanted to develop drugs that would make their soldiers stronger. The Nazis had focused mainly on testosterone, and even the Fuhrer himself, Hitler, was provided with testosterone. Working in conjunction with the drug company, Ciba, steroid chemists at the company developed the drug methandrostenolone, which was marketed as Dianabol in 1958. Zeigler had early access to the drug, which appeared to meet his requirements of being more anabolic, but less androgenic than testosterone. He gave the drug to the entire U.S Olympic weightlifting team that competed at the Olympics in Rome in 1960, but they still couldn't defeat the Soviet or Russian team. One lifter who ingested Dianabol under Zeigler's supervision, Louis Riecke, within a short time of using it set personal lift records that far exceeded his previous attempts. And he was ingesting only 2 tablets a day of Dianabol. But many of the other lifters, thinking that if two tablets worked, taking 20 would work even better, soon developed liver disease. One of the attributes of oral anabolic steroid drugs such as Dianabol is that they are structurally manipulated to resist premature breakdown in the . . .