FOX Sports Exclusive
Buzz: Juicing and unashamed
The United States Anti-Doping Agency catches dozens of athletes each year using performance-enhancing drugs to gain a leg up on the competition — but few have a story like Don Ramos.
At 80 years old, Ramos is both a world record-holding weightlifter and the oldest steroid user USADA has ever caught. And you shouldn’t expect him to apologize for the latter.
“Do I consider myself a cheater?” Ramos said in an interview published Sunday in the New York Times. “I never thought of myself that way. I feel like I’m just keeping myself healthy.”
Ramos’ positive test was administered earlier this year, at a competition in Chicago. A former dance instructor and model, Ramos had just set an 80-and-over record in the clean and jerk, lifting 161 pounds.
After the lift, he was escorted to the drug testing area, where he handed over a urine sample, just as he had many times before. A month later, he received the news: He had failed his drug test for having too much testosterone in his system. The penalty for the transgression? A two-year ban from competition.
The fact that he had elevated testosterone was not a surprise to Ramos. He has been taking it for 20 years with a prescription from a doctor. The shock lies in how so much of it — 1,121 nanograms per deciliter ("more than twice what it should have been," according to The Times) — ended up in his body when he says he never varied his doses.
“The average person thinks I’m buying drugs in an alley,” Ramos told the paper. “The stigma of getting caught taking steroids — most people say, 'Besides testosterone, what steroids did you take?' They don’t know that testosterone is the steroid.”
Ramos’ story brings to mind the story of Kolton Houston, a University of Georgia offensive lineman who just this year returned to the field after 3½ years of positive drug tests tied to a steroid he had injected while he was in high school.
It’s unknown whether Ramos will find the kind of redemption that Houston finally did — Ramos didn’t appeal the suspension, and says he expects to be back on the competition circuit at age 82 in 2015 — but the octogenarian who said his life’s goal is to be on Dancing With The Stars doesn’t seem too concerned.
“I have to admit, I have an extraordinary body,” Ramos said. “Not for an 80-year-old. But for a 30-year-old.”
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This guy. pic.twitter.com/8QxpwhZIJ9— grünauer restaurant (@GrunauerKC) September 15, 2013
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