The story of American doping in the 80s: The Olympics, Eddie B, and his “product”, our old friend Lance

This documentary looks at doping in the 80s in the USA, it isn’t cycling-specific, though it is cycling-related as it deals with doping on a systematic and institutionalised scale, nothing most of you won’t have known already but that may be enlightening for some.

Almost comical is the recounting of how many athletes suddenly started wearing braces as a result of taking growth hormone, which makes the jaw grow.

Yeah, growth hormone is a wonderful drug…


Check out the athlete at 22.52 saying how “people had the impression that we were all on drugs at the Olympics, but no! They were all gone, we hadn’t done them in months – it was just training.”

And remember the guy earlier in the film saying that an athlete on steroids could allow and athlete to lift their max twice a day whilst they are on the drugs, whereas normally it’d be once every three days. Hmm, ‘just training’ huh?

This all brings us to the shady Edward ‘Eddie B’ Borysewicz, the USA team cycling coach under whose direction the US team won 9 medals in the ’84 Olympics. You will hear in the doc reference being made to ‘keeping up with the Eastern Europeans’, well, Eddie B brought the ‘knowledge’ of how to do that with him when he left Poland to work with the budding US Olympic riders in ’78.

Interestingly, Eddie B claims Lance Armstrong as his discovery, not Chris Carmichael’s.

From Wikipedia:

 Eddie Borysewicz resigned as coach of the American national team in 1987  partly because of disagreements with members of his squad. He started his own amateur team in 1988. Sponsorship by Sunkyong, a Korean electronics firm, ended after a year and Borysewicz sought a replacement in Montgomery Securities. Its chief executive, Thomas Weisel, agreed to a team of 15 that included Lance Armstrong. That team, after several sponsorship changes, became the US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams for which Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times before those victories were vacated in 2012 after the USADA ruled that Armstrong doped during each of those victories.

Borysewicz claimed Lance Armstrong as his discovery and not that of Armstrong’s later coach, Chris Carmichael When Carmichael said of his work at the US federation that he wished he had “five Lances,” Borysewicz replied,

“Why doesn’t he (Chris Carmichael) produce Lances? That’s his job. And anyway, Lance is not his product. Lance is my product.”



Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

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