Thursday, December 17, 2009

the real predator hides behind the Tiger

Tiger Woods doesn't have his troubles to seek: the man who has everything lacks a shed in which to escape the celebrity goldfish-bowl that is constructed around anybody good enough at whatever it is they do (and lucky enough) to make a lot of money, usually for the purpose of pulling them apart when cracks creep up the façade.

Kosher Sex - click to read an interview with Rabbi Boteach at about.comThere has also been a degree of compassion: for example, David Skelton at Platform 10 reminds us that "every Bobby Charlton there was a George Best, for every Michael Vaughan there was a hard drinking genius like Iain Botham"; and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of Kosher Sex took a more analytic view of why men cheat in the Jerusalem Post, opining that somebody who has become as successful as Woods through their innate competitiveness is living with the toxic anxiety that "they are only special to the extent that they keep on winning". (Although he does then pose the million-pound question: "Many have said that husbands like Tiger Woods are sex addicts. But then why aren't they addicted to sex with their wives?")

Another, equally explosive, controversy linked with Tiger Woods emanates not from him but from one of his associates but has been eclipsed by the lurid chain of revelations about Woods' sex life - and perhaps that's the point.

Anthony Galea - click to read Tom Leonard's article in the TelegraphThe Telegraph's Tom Leonard revealed this week that Woods' doctor, Anthony Galea, has been under investigation by the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for allegedly supplying performance-enhancing drugs to sportspeople, after his assistant was arrested crossing the US/Canada border with a laptop containing his patients' treatment and four substances, including human growth hormone (HGH). This is often used to look and possibly feel a bit better, and has been referred to as "the fountain of youth".

This is worrying. I'm sure what was in Galea's assistant's car was actually recombinant growth hormone, which is made in a laboratory either totally synthetically or with the aid of genetically-modified bacteria.

Human growth hormone is what it says on the tin. It's been harvested from the brains of cadavers since 1958, when Dr Maurice Raben of the Tufts University School of dwarfism sufferer Monique Johnson - click to read her stoy on CBSmedicine first treated a 17-year-old boy who had dwarfism (which can result from a lack of human growth hormone from one's own pituitary gland) by injecting him with HGH he had harvested from an autopsied corpse.

From 1958 until the practice was banned with the advent of the recombinant hormone in 1985, a minority click to read more about Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease at the Alzheimer's Society websiteof HGH recipients were dogged with the symptoms of Creuzfeld-Jacob disease (CJD), a degenerative neurological disorder manifested by dementia and movement disorders, which had first been identified in the 1920s in the Fore people of New Guinea, who practiced rituals involving cannibalism. (CJD would later become famous as "mad cow disease" - bovine spongiform encepalopathy or BSE - and would be traced to bovine brain material being present in cow-feed.) The US National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Service reports that 28 out of 7,700 recipients of HGH in the US were identified as having developed the symptoms of CJD, 109 out of 1,700 in France, 56 out of 1,848 in England - and in 2002, a Dutch man developed symptoms 38 years after the treatment, the longest recorded gap.

Although no longer acceptable as a medical treatment, the price of recombinant HGH creates a market for the original stuff in communities of people engaged in the worship of Narcissus who haven't yet realised that to put a few years onto your lifespan and look like a Greek god doesn't bring you a whit more happy. Intelligence suggests that HGH is being harvested from corpses in the Baltic region, Eastern Europe and - of course - China, where possessing organs or bodily fluids that somebody richer than you wants can be a capital crime. Others may be paying over the odds for consignments of HGH that are packaged like medicine and have the right labels and warnings, but since it's produced illicitly there's no way to tell, and no comeback when your memory starts to go.

In sports there's a huge market for performance-enhancing substances like steroids, erythropoietin, HGH and of course painkillers so that one can ignore the warnings screaming "stop". So perhaps this is why the media are on a continuous drip of revelations about enough mistresses, porn-stars and the rest to people a netball league, and why it's not going to stop anytime soon. So, whether or not Woods has taken performance-enhancing drugs (not all of which are illegal), perhaps it's time for him to hire other folks' muscles to create a space where he can sit down and figure out how not to let things spiral out of control again. Who knows, his silence might even prompt Anthony Galea to find his voice.

Narcissus, with apologies to Caravaggio

Related post - Victor Conte and Dwain Chambers' secrets


  1. There was an X-file episode about this! ;o)

  2. Was there? I don't remember that one!

    I got a huge load of X-files videos from the hospital charity shop recently, because the owner had replaced them with DVD's, but there were 2 or 3 series missing, it must have been one of those - and when they were originally shown, it took me a while to get into the X-files, which my wife was already hooked on. David Duchovny has a lot to answer for!

  3. Most athletes today are taking homeopathic hgh oral spray because it's safe, undetectable, and legal for over the counter sales. As time goes on it seems it might be considered as benign a performance enhancer as coffee, aspirin, red bull, chewing tobacco, and bubble gum.

  4. Fair point, Billy; what I'm talking about is sales of drugs that are, at this point, illegal, and the huge market there is for them. But we still remain to see the effects of hgh over somebody's lifetime.

  5. I hate that many athletes use some chemicals to grow or to increase muscle mass, quickly! is very disappointing!


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