|Seems as though USADA have better things to do than chase down 80 year olds who can still bend and move.|
Here is an update on the 80 year old who tested positive for PEDs as reported in an earlier post. as we stated then, the evidence bears out, it is hardly worth the effort and expense. He was only doing what he always has done and it sounds like he will continue to do it. If it helps him to perform so well at age 80, when most of his peers are long dead and the majority of the rest are incapacitated, then how can it be "dangerous" or bad? I am all for a consistent and sensible testing program for elite competitors, if such can be achieved. But what is the point of testing masters competitors? Just a waste of resources in my opinion.
COLORADO SPRINGS — Don Ramos is 80. His square jaw looks chiseled from rock, and his biceps, when flexed, looks as if it swallowed a softball. He holds several weight-lifting world records for his age group and can still lift more than 160 pounds off the ground and raise it over his head.
A little over two weeks ago, though, Ramos was declared a cheat, the oldest steroid doper ever caught by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
He does not deny that he took synthetic testosterone, a banned substance. He has been taking it for 20 years, he said, with a prescription from a doctor — a practice common among aging men, even those with no competitive ambitions, to combat naturally falling levels of the hormone.
But after a recent competition in Chicago, Ramos’s testosterone level was found to be extraordinarily high, more than twice the typical reading for someone his age. He was suspended from competition for two years and did not appeal the ruling.
“Do I consider myself a cheater?” Ramos said, mulling the question. “I never thought of myself that way. I feel like I’m just keeping myself healthy.”
Doping in sports is most commonly associated with high-profile offenders like Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez, superstars with bulging contracts to match their muscles. But most of the athletes caught in recent years for using steroids and other banned substances have been little-known amateurs in small-time competitions.
The list of the more than 20 athletes caught this year by Usada includes a 30-year-old player of boccia, a Paralympic sport similar to bocce; a 49-year-old Paralympic sailor; and a 64-year-old hammer thrower. Last year, a 56-year-old Paralympic archer received a warning for a doping rules violation. In 2011, three athletes in their 60s were caught.
None received the attention that Ramos did. With one urine sample, 80 years of life dissolved into a likely epitaph. But Ramos is far more than an easy punch line.
“I’ve got a good story” is how Ramos would start, again and again, on his way to detailed accounts of his life, as the son of a carousing bandleader and his dancer wife, who once hired a young girl now known as Judy Garland to baby-sit.
Ramos’s life is a Forrest Gumpian odyssey, most of it verifiable. His claim about being a well-known dance instructor in New York City leads to his quotations in a New York Times article from 1971 on the latest crazes. A mention of his stumble into modeling leads to a full-page magazine advertisement for Playboy, with a 30-year-old Ramos relaxing next to a beautiful woman in the mid-1960s. (“What sort of man reads Playboy?” the copy begins. “A guy who enjoys life thickly carpeted.”)
Ramos enjoyed life, all right, through six marriages, fortunes and bankruptcies, and, after he turned 70, a pile of world records for weight lifting.
But long before any of that was a photo in the 1952 yearbook of North Phoenix High in which he is winning a dance contest with his girlfriend, Barbara Thomason, later known as Carolyn Mitchell, an actress who had a role in Jack Nicholson’s first movie (1958’s “The Cry Baby Killer”), became Mickey Rooney’s fifth wife and was murdered in 1966.
A former dance instructor, Ramos spent 20 years working for Arthur Murray Dance Studios, eventually managing studios across the Northeast.
“If I could do anything in the world, I would give away all my weight-lifting medals if I could be on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ” Ramos said. “I’ve always just wanted to dance.”
He befriended another Arthur Murray instructor, Sidney Craig, who later started a weight-loss company named for his wife, Jenny.
The Craigs became neighbors in the San Diego area as Ramos started a chain of women’s health clubs before going bankrupt. That led Ramos to open five World Gym locations — explaining the photograph taken with Arnold Schwarzenegger — after he moved to Colorado Springs in 1993 to be closer to the United States Olympic Center so he could pursue his latest infatuation, weight lifting.
Ah, yes. Weight lifting. With Ramos, it is easy to become sidetracked.
In the one-bedroom condominium that he shares with his 12-year-old dog, Avi, Ramos unlocked a drawer to reveal a trove of weight-lifting medals won over the last two decades.
Weight lifting was merely a retirement hobby. Ramos is about 5 feet 9 inches and 185 pounds, his muscles partly disguised under a T-shirt and shorts.
“I have to admit, I have an extraordinary body,” Ramos said. “Not for an 80-year-old. But for a 30-year-old.”
He can run and jump. (He wants to set high-jump records for his age but cannot figure out where to practice.) His face barely sags. His hair, in the mold of Joe Biden’s, is thin, white and combed straight back. He has no hearing aid and, thanks to eye surgery, no glasses. His resonant voice could do voice-overs.
His mind is quick. He drives fast. He covets younger women; his last serious girlfriend, when he was 66, was 33. Spend a day with him, and you could be convinced if someone said he was 58.
But all that, and all those stories, is overshadowed by what happened in June in Chicago, at the Pan American Masters Weightlifting Championships.
For his weight class, Ramos nearly broke the 80-and-over record of about 133 pounds in the snatch, in which competitors lift the bar overhead from the floor in a single motion. It might have been a surprise that he did not set a record: Ramos still holds world records for the snatch in three weight categories in the 75-79 age group. He snatched 172 pounds in 2008.
But in the clean and jerk, in which the bar is raised first to the shoulders and then overhead, Ramos broke the record by lifting about 161 pounds.
Ramos was immediately escorted to drug testing. It is done at international events, sparingly, mostly to authenticate records and weed out the occasional steroid suspects. Organizers are often ambivalent about drug testing; it legitimizes the event, but at some cost. The director of the Pan American event, Corinne Grotenhuis, paid $6,000 for Usada’s oversight, she said.
Ramos was watched closely as he urinated into a container and sealed it. He had been through the procedure many times and worried little about the results. He accepted his medal and a Grand Master award, for the best weight lifter among the 200-plus competitors. There was no prize money. There rarely is.
Then Ramos went home, alone, to his dog.
About a month later, he received a notice from Usada: he had failed the drug test. An out-of-balance ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, a related hormone in the body, gave him away.
Ramos’s doctor ordered a blood test. His testosterone level on July 29 was 1,121 nanograms per deciliter — more than twice what it should have been. Ramos stopped the injections.
A month later, a follow-up blood test found his testosterone level to be extraordinarily low, signaling a range of potential problems, affecting anything from the prostate to the pituitary glands.
Ramos said he never varied his doses and could not explain the spike, or the drop.
“The average person thinks I’m buying drugs in an alley,” Ramos said. “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.”
This week, a bottle of testosterone sat on Ramos’s bathroom counter. He lifts weights five days a week but worries that his gym will shun him. One man there approached Ramos and addressed him as “the juicer,” Ramos said.
But Ramos vows to be back at international competitions in two years. By then, more world records may be out of reach. By then, dozens, maybe hundreds, of little-known athletes like him will probably have been caught and labeled cheaters, too.
|Pretty amazing for 80 years old. he must be doing something right!|