Bigger Stronger Faster

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I watched Bigger Stronger Faster last night. It's a movie about steroid use in sports which is something I thought I was pretty dead set in my opinions about. As a cyclist I'm keenly aware of how widespread cheating in the sport is and I've always held a pretty low opinion of those that did it.

A scant few things have challenged my opinions. Outside Magazine famously did a story on an older amateur rider taking all the banned substances he could handle and I remember the takeaway for me was "damn, that HGH actually sounds pretty good." and "Wow, I can see why people take these things."

On MetaFilter, user Chuckles compiled a list of 8 previous Tour de France top five results, with everyone implicated in doping marked with an X. If he updated it for 2007 and 2008, there'd be even more X's on the chart. It's really more ubiquitous than we want to think.

I have friends that have defended Barry Bonds and other atheletes and frequently mention Tiger Woods had eye surgery to improve his vision, which is another form of performance-enhancement that seems hypocritical to allow (and I can't help but agree with).

I sort of expected Bigger Stronger Faster to be either some sort of gross-out "let's take steroids and hurt oursevles" or a depressing "here is how it ruins lives" but it's nothing at all like either of those things. It really literally rocked my world because it presents a side of steroids in sports I'd never considered and it completely changed my opinion of the whole issue.

The best part is the main guy and narrator is quite literally just some guy off the street who was interested in examining a complex issue, and his passion for seeking the truth pulls you along through the entire film. I have no idea how the filmmakers found the guy or how the guy got into filmmaking, but he's the perfect subject to move through the film and I shared a lot in common (like my distaste for dopining in sports).

I can't recommend this documentary highly enough.

2 Comments

  • I watched this documentary a few weeks back and agree that it's a must see. It was amazing to see how often steroids were prescribed by doctors for numerous diseases and infections, yet athletes can't use them without getting some flack about it. It also really shows the truth about old and new athletes and celebrities while keeping a neutral feeling about steroids in general.

    I see you're also a cyclist; you should watch the film "The Flying Scotsman" about cyclist Graeme Obree and then read about his outlook on the tour de france.

    Movie:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0472268/

    Graeme Obree:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graeme_Obree

  • A friend of mine had his eyes adjusted/vision corrected so he could be a navigator in an F-14. Without doing this he wouldn’t have been able to do his job.
    After his adjustment, he had 20/40 vision (or the other way around, whichever is better).
    I don’t fault him for the choice. He did 8 years in Afghanistan starting after the end of the last Gulf war, and continuing into the current one.
    Science is a good thing. Not sure how I feel about doping though.

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