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Canadian athletes caught in Caracas

From stimulants to steroids, growth hormones and even gene therapy, high-performance athletes routinely risk everything in their quest for gold. Canada has had its share of drug headlines, from disgraced Pan Am weightlifters to the Ben Johnson scandal and the Dubin Inquiry. In recent years, Canadian scientists, athletes and officials have been first out of the blocks in the race to keep sports safe and fair.

There's a world-class surprise awaiting athletes competing at the 1983 Pan Am Games in Caracas, Venezuela. A new test for anabolic steroids has been developed, and testing at the games is rigorous. According to one weightlifter, using steroids in his sport is "like girls using makeup at a beauty pageant." Canadian weightlifter and gold medalist Guy Greavette is one of 19 competitors caught doping. He admits using banned steroids, but tells The Journal he didn't think he'd be tested. 
• Anabolic steroids improve an athlete's performance by increasing muscle mass, strength and endurance. However, these drugs can have serious side effects such as liver and kidney tumours, jaundice, high blood pressure and severe acne. In men, anabolic steroids can result in the shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts and an increased risk for prostate cancer. In women they can lead to growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, cessation of the menstrual cycle and a deepened voice.

• Michel Viau, who won two bronze medals at the Pan Am games, was the first Canadian caught in drug testing. Teammate Guy Greavette was caught three days later.
• Greavette and Viau were stripped of their medals and suspended for two years, missing the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
• After Guy Greavette's positive test, many athletes from the United States and other nations withdrew from the competition and returned home without explanation.

• Greavette's career never really recovered. After serving his suspension, he competed at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, finishing tenth in his weight class.

• In a 2002 interview with Greavette the weightlifter said he had been labelled a cheater ever since the scandal.
Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: Aug. 24, 1983
Guest(s): Guy Greavette, Aldo Roy
Host: Mary Lou Finlay, Ian Parker
Duration: 7:07

Last updated: October 25, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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