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Tip of the Iceberg

Forbes Magazine
February 2004

"We are a culture that loves winning: we love hard hitting NFL players, fast sprinters, record shattering swimmers.We've bought into the notion of winning at all costs," notes Steven Ungerleider, a research psychologist in Eugene, Ore., and author of "Faust's Gold: Inside the East German Doping Machine.  Athletes certainly feel the pressure to win. Even though excessive steroid use can damage the liver and has been linked with pancreatic cancer and heart disease, athletes are still willing to risk their health for an edge. A study several years ago in North Carolina asked athletes if they would take a substance that would guarantee them a gold medal, but also shorten their lifespan by several years. Half of those surveyed said they would. "For two to three decades, we've had pockets of coaches, trainers and even doctors supplying drugs to elite athletes in the U.S.," Ungerleider says. "We have labs today where coaches and trainers can [get quick access] to the drugs they want. BALCO is definitely the tip of the iceberg."