The Arnold Syndrome

Let’s be honest. Arnold Scharzenegger was elected governor of California based on his celebrity status and not on his political credentials.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ He was – and is – a larger-than-life figure who commands multi-million dollar movie contracts portraying Hollywood action heroes, and the voters of California were desperate for a real life super hero to replace the ineffectual Gray Davis even if he was only a caricature of the real thing.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ The problem is that Schwarzenegger won his office dishonestly.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

No, he didn’t cheat by stuffing the ballot box, bribing voters, manipulating election expenses to exceed the legal limit, or anything like that (not that we know of, anyway).Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Instead, he cheated circuitously by using anabolic steroids to build a prize-winning albeit synthetically-enhanced physique that would vault him to fame and fortune in the sport of bodybuilding, providing the celebrity status that would eventually open the doors to Hollywood and, ultimately, to the governorship.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Everything that Schwarzenegger is today is a product of his steroid use. Diehard supporters will counter that this is old news and that their man has already come clean on this issue.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Not quite.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

If Scwarzenegger had not used anabolic steroids to enhance his career in bodybuilding, it is unlikely that he would have ever won the prestigious Mr. Olympia bodybuilding title (then a record 7 times) against other elite bodybuilders (many of whom may have also used steroids).�¯�¿�½ It is even more unlikely that he would have ever become a Hollywood action hero since his Mr. Olympia fame was the precursor to his successful film career beginning with the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron. And, it is more unlikely still that he would have ever met his wife Maria Shriver except in his wildest dreams.�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ In fact, it is doubtful that anyone would even know the name of Arnold Scwarzenegger if he had not used steroids.

Schwarzenegger has claimed that steroids weren’t illegal when he used them in the seventies and early eighties, so his years-long indiscretion shouldn’t matter. Well, that’s not quite true. Steroids were still classified as prescription drugs at the time and were, therefore, legal only if prescribed and dispensed by a licensed physician.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ The fact that he may have found an unscrupulous physician to prescribe steroids to treat his “medical” condition of needing to gain weight for bodybuilding competition might have made it technically “legal” but not ethical.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ And, yes, ethics do matter, Arnold.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

I met Arnold several times early in his bodybuilding career.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ I liked him then, and I like him now.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ He is intelligent and charismatic and probably would have been very successful in many endeavors even without using steroids.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ But his entire persona, directly attributed to his steroid use, has based on the principle of “do as I say, not as I do.” In a recent interview with Chris Mathews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Schwarzenegger is quoted as saying,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ “We have to do something about the drug use in sports.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ It sends the wrong message to our children.”Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Of course, it’s easy for him to say he is against steroids after he has become wealthy and famous from using them. Professional athletes do it all the time.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ It’s called hypocrisy.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

It should be no surprise to anyone that we have a epidemic of performance enhancing drugs in sports in this country because the “Gubernator” is a poster boy for the adage that “the end justifies the means.”Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ He has taught us that it is more important to win than how you play the game and that the rewards of using steroids can extend even beyond the playing field.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ While none of this may have anything to do with Schwarzenegger’s performance as governor,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ it has everything to do with how he got there.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

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