Shaun Assael is an award-winning journalist and author. As a senior writer with ESPN: The Magazine, he has covered everything from NASCAR to the NFL, and now works as an investigative reporter. In Steroid Nation: Juiced Home Run Totals, Anti-Aging Miracles, And a Hercules in Every High School - The Secret History of America’s True Drug Addiction, Assael pens the authoritative history of America’s—and perhaps the world’s—most insidious drug addiction. Part detective story, part medical investigation, and part sociological examination, Steroid Nation is a groundbreaking work on the most compelling story in the sports world today.
Shaun Assael: There was actually a patient zero and the doctor X and that was 1959 and this doctor John Seagler who worked in Maryland who was a medical Bandwidth a brilliant man, who was really, and earlier I said use steroids optimism in average of the cross roads, he was interested in optimism trying to help Americans, when he understood that the Russians were using, a testosterone, synthetic testosterone to bulk up in the track and field and weight lifting, professor track and field bulk up in weight lifting, and he created a Diana ball which was the first American steroid and gave it to a young weight lifter named Billy Marsh. Billy Marsh didn’t compete in 1960 but he competed in the 1964 Olympics and by then Diana Ball had made its march from the small little lab in the back of this doctors house in Maryland to the weight lifting gyms, first in New York Pennsylvania then to the west coast. And by the mid ‘60s as it migrated to the gyms of west coast, it was also in the Santiago charges locker room and it was slowly getting in to the NFL and then it made it way back east in to the NFL on the east coast, by the early ‘70s you had the Gold’s gym raise, you had the Arnold Destes as I refer to them and again now steroids were then firmally in the muscle culture and the gym culture and would soon make it their way more broadly in to sports.
Shaun Assael: In the beginning, strength records were being so and they improve your strength and for a weight lifter you are able to show you the medal at 10, 20, 30 pounds more than you otherwise would have so its a natural connection strength lifting steroids, within the gyms though what you found was especially California in the mid ‘70s into the early ‘80s, that there was a real interest and chemical exploration that these guys were amateur Pharmacist and more than anybody else, so finally it tuned to there bodies that they were willing to explore the chemical frontier, which is why you had crazy things happened, I mean these guys would experiment with indigenous human growth hormone which was taking out of Cadavers of the pituitary glands of Cadavers and there was thought that this would transform them, it turns out also created an odd strained of Mad Cow disease that was pretty sick, this was just a fraction of what they were doing in the book, I read about my character Den DuShane giving his girl friend that something called DNP which was one molecule away from TNT and the reason they did that was to shed pounds, so that body building contest you would have that lean look, what you didn’t realize is that you did that by turning up the body stem cells that is so high to burn fat with that, if you over dose, you literally are incinerating from the inside which she almost did, she was naked on a building and almost threw her self off to get cool, so these were people who were so chemically in tune with there bodies, that they will really didn’t go to the farthest reaches of chemical exploration by the time it got dialed back and that happened in the mid ‘90s, they had already gone as far as they could go and were starting to then bring their will to the pop culture.
Recorded on: March 18, 2008.