*Written by Tony Blinn, CD, Chairman IFBB Technical Committee  

Dateline - Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, October 26th, 1986 … history is in the making!

IFBB President Ben Weider at the 1986 IFBB International Congress
in Tokyo, Japan

Ben Weider, Founder and President of the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB), sits poised before the delegates from the 47 countries attending the annual IFBB International Congress. He is on the brink of announcing the results of the first-ever drug tested Men's World Amateur Bodybuilding Championships. Needless to say, you could hear the proverbial pin drop in the Congress Hall of the Tokyo Hilton International, as the more than 150 delegates, special guests, VIPs and supporters quietly listened with rapt attention.

"The use of drugs in any sport to gain an unfair advantage over an opponent is not only reprehensible but dangerous to the health of the athlete" remarks President Weider. And, with the following words, IFBB history is made … "In keeping with the traditions and procedures of the International Olympic Committee, I herewith announce the results of the drug tests."

Joe Weider (USA), Trainer of Champions and IFBB Patron, addressing the delegates in Tokyo, Japan

Only a few short moments before, Joe Weider, Trainer of Champions since 1936, had addressed the Congress, saying, "I want to thank the delegates for their devotion to drug-free sport and for helping to make the drug testing a great success. I promise my continued support in this worthwhile endeavor."

Joe's support in subsequent years was instrumental in both the financial and educational sectors. Effective doping control is very expensive and would eventually run into the six figures annually. In addition, realizing that the IFBB had a responsibility to educate its members on the issue of the use and abuse of drugs in sport, Joe used his magazines to publish regular articles on natural alternatives to doping.

It is perhaps noteworthy to understand how the IFBB reached this historic moment in its long history.

In actual fact, it began at the 1982 IFBB International Congress in Brugge, Belgium, when President Weider authorized a drug testing evaluation to be conducted at the 1983 European Championships - a collaborative effort between Arne Svendsen (Norway) and Prof. Dr. Ernest Jokl (USA), Chairman of the IFBB Medical Commission (established 1971). Prof. Dr. Jokl was an internationally-renowned authority in the field and was known colloquially as "Mr. Sports Medicine".

At the 1983 IFBB International Congress in Singapore, after a lively and lengthy debate based upon the aforementioned evaluation, the delegates voted unanimously to begin official testing at the 1985 Men's World Amateur Bodybuilding Championships, scheduled for Göteborg, Sweden.

At the 1984 IFBB International Congress in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, it was obvious that a number of medical and legal concerns remained unanswered. President Weider instructed the medical and legal advisors to investigate these outstanding issues and to report their findings to the IFBB.

At the 1985 IFBB International Congress in Göteborg, Sweden, and with the medical and legal report in hand (and all questions answered), the delegates once again voted unanimously to begin official testing - this time, at the 1986 Men's World Amateur Bodybuilding Championships, scheduled for Tokyo, Japan.

In 1986, two key figures would emerge whose efforts would ensure that doping control within the IFBB would be of the highest possible standard. Dr. Bob Goldman (USA), a staunch advocate of drug-free sport, had replaced Prof. Dr. Ernst Jokl as Chairman of the IFBB Medical Commission (Prof. Dr. Jokl was subsequently named "Chairman Emeritus"). And through the efforts of Ben Weider and his Executive Assistant, Rafael Santonja, the distinguished Prof. Dr. Manfred Donike (Germany) accepted the position of Special Advisor to the IFBB Medical Commission.

From left to right: Dr. Bob Goldman (USA), Chairman IFBB Medical Commission, IFBB President Ben Weider, and the late Prof. Dr. Manfred Donike (Germany),
IFBB Special Advisor

Prof. Dr. Donike was Chairman of the IOC Doping Commission and worked directly with Prince Alexandre de Merode, Chairman of the IOC Medical Commission. As supervisor of the doping controls in Tokyo and later events, Prof. Dr. Donike's comprehensive knowledge and vast experience lent immediate credibility to the program, ensuring that the IFBB strictly followed the IOC's Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code (OMADC). This Code called for the sole use of IOC procedures in sample collection and control, IOC approved doping control kits, and IOC accredited laboratories for sample analysis.

In 1987, the IFBB took the next step by implementing drug testing at the Women's World Amateur Championships in Reno, Nevada, USA. This would eventually lead to doping controls at all IFBB international amateur events. Also in 1987, the Men's World Amateur Bodybuilding Championships in Madrid, Spain, became the first world-level event to report zero positives.

In 1988, Prince Alexandre de Merode, IOC Vice President and Chairman of the IOC Medical Commission, would state in a letter to President Weider, "The IOC Medical Commission is most impressed by the steps taken by your International Federation to combat drug misuse in your sport." The IFBB could not have asked for a higher compliment.

By now, other key IFBB officials around the world, such as Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Beuker (Germany), Secretary IFBB Medical Commission, Jim Manion (USA), IFBB Vice President North America, Albert Busek (Germany), IFBB Vice President Europe, Javier Pollock (US Virgin Islands), IFBB Vice President Caribbean, Paul Chua (Singapore), IFBB Vice President Asia, Aquiles de Cesare (Uruguay), IFBB Vice President South America, Paul Graham (Australia), IFBB Vice President Oceania, Warren Langman (Norfolk Island), IFBB Vice President South Pacific, Dr. Eng. Adel Fahim El Sayed (Egypt), IFBB Vice President Africa, and Malih Alaywan (Lebanon), IFBB Vice President Middle East, were busy selling the virtues of drug testing within their respective jurisdictions. And throughout the years, Rafael Santonja, IFBB Executive Assistant to the President, would play a vital role in advising key IOC members of the seriousness of the IFBB's doping control program.

In 1991, new federal drug regulations were enacted by the US Congress, making anabolic steroids a Class 3 drug, with stiff fines and prison terms. We recall that, in the late '80s, Joe Weider set aside space in his magazines encouraging people to write to their member of Congress to have steroids added to the FDA's list of proscribed drugs.

Throughout the early and mid-'90s, the IFBB's dedication and commitment towards implementing an effective doping control program was beginning to pay huge dividends within the world of the IOC. As an ever-increasing number of National Federations followed the IFBB's example, more and more National Olympic Committees began recognizing the sport.

GAISFThe IFBB, already the sole-recognized (since 1969) international sport governing body for the sport of bodybuilding by the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), and a founding member of the International World Games Assocation (IWGA), was making steady progress at IOC-recognized Regional Games. IWGAThe IFBB, and its bodybuilders, were participating (oftentimes as a Medal Sport) in the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, South American Games, Central American & Caribbean Games, Arab Games, South Pacific Games, African Games and World Games. Bodybuilding would later become recognized by the Olympic Council of Asia, the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa, and the Pan American Sports Confederation.

With the passing of Prof. Dr. Mandred Donike in 1995, the IFBB was most fortunate when Prof. Dr. Eduardo H. De Rose (Brazil) accepted the position of Special Advisor, replacing his longtime friend and mentor. Prof. Dr. de Rose was president of the International Federation of Sports Medicine, a member of the IOC Medical & Doping Commission, and an internationally renowned expert in the field; highly regarded by his peers in the Olympic Movement.

Prof. Dr. Eduardo H. De Rose (Brazil), IFBB Special Advisor

Prof. Dr. De Rose, in an open letter to the IOC, would later remark, "My full support of the program can only exist if, in all aspects, it follows the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code and, as it stands right now, there is no doubt that this is the case. Reviewing the statistics of the last four years, one sees very clearly that the incidence of positive cases is being drastically reduced. Few international federations, including many of the Olympic federations, have as comprehensive a program as that of the IFBB".

Indeed, the IFBB had witnessed a sharp decrease in positives worldwide in the late '90s, as the seriousness and steadfastness of the IFBB's efforts to clean up the sport became more and more self-evident. As a direct result, an increasing number of national, continental and world-level competitions were reporting few or zero positives.

In 1997, under the guidance and direction of President Weider, and with the assistance of Prof. Dr. De Rose, Rafael Santonja, Dr. Goldman, Pamela Kagan, IFBB Executive Director, and Tony Blinn, Chairman IFBB Technical Committee, the IFBB would produce its own doping control manual - the "IFBB Doping Control Policy & Anti-Doping Program" (later shortened to "IFBB Anti-Doping Program"). Prior to this, the IFBB had been guided solely by the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code (OMADC).

This new document laid out, in fine detail, the IFBB's policy on doping, procedures in doping controls, penalties and result management.

IFBB President Ben Weider proudly presenting the new IFBB Anti-Doping Program to then
IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch

The IFBB adopted the OMADC List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, Penalties for Doping Offences (1st offence: 2-year suspension; 2nd offence: lifetime suspension), and Result Management Procedures geared towards protecting the rights of the athlete. Furthermore, the IFBB took the bold step of adopting penalties for National Federations that did not adhere to the Program by failing to ensure that its athletes were drug-free while competing at IFBB international amateur events.

All throughout this, President Weider had waged a determined and persistent battle for IOC recognition. Indeed, this fight occurred over the reigns of four IOC presidents: Avery Brundage (1952-1972), Lord Killanin (1972-1980), Juan Antonio Samaranch (1980-2001), and now, Jacques Rogge (2001-present). Recall that his first petition for IOC recognition was greeted by a legendary rejoinder from then IOC President Lord Killanin, "Sure … over my dead body!" Luckily, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch was slightly more amenable towards the IFBB's efforts, stating in one letter to President Weider, "Mr. Weider … you are a tenacious fighter for your sport."

One of, if not the, proudest moment in the history of the IFBB: the IFBB flag flying alongside the IOC flag at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. From left to right: Rafael Santonja (Spain), IFBB Executive Assistant to the President, then IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, Pamela Kagan (Canada), IFBB Executive Director, and IFBB President Ben Weider

On January 31st, 1998, the world of the IFBB and the sport of bodybuilding changed dramatically with the following words from then IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. "It is my pleasure to inform you that the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee decided yesterday, in its meeting in Nagano, to grant recognition to the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) as a Recognized Federation, pursuant to Rule 29 of the Olympic Charter. Further, I should like to take this opportunity to congratulate you for all the efforts made in order to reach this goal, and to welcome you into the Olympic Family." A few years later, Samaranch would remark to President Weider that the IFBB was a well-run federation; better than most federations, including some on the Olympic program.

Finally, after 52 years of "blood, sweat and tears", the battle for Olympic recognition was won. Did President Weider rest on his laurels? Not a chance! He immediately redoubled his efforts by adopting a "zero tolerance" policy with the few remaining National Federations that failed to ensure that their athletes, competing at IFBB international amateur events, were drug-free. To show that this policy was not just mere words, President Weider subsequently approved the suspension of one National Federation (after fair warning) and was on the verge of suspending several others (who immediately cleaned up their act).

President Weider then approved a policy decision that would focus the emphasis on the integrity of the IFBB Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, allowing that no medal would be awarded to any athlete who had not submitted to and passed a doping control test. President Weider, with the capable assistance of Rafael Santonja, Dr. Bob Goldman and Prof. Dr. Eduardo H. De Rose, dramatically increased efforts at educating members on Natural Alternatives to Doping via the presentation of seminars, clinics and course programs worldwide.

Dr. Bob Goldman (USA) , Chairman IFBB Medical Commission, receives the IFBB's highest award - the IFBB Gold Order, in Shanghai, China, 2005 Shown here with Bob are Rafael Santonja (Spain), IFBB Executive Assistant to the President, and Prof. Dr. Eduardo H. De Rose (Brazil), IFBB Special Advisor

In 2000, yet another milestone was achieved. Juan Antonio Samaranch became the first IOC President to attend an IFBB competition - the European Men's Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.

From 1998 to 2001, statistics demonstrated that worldwide positives were reduced 86%. Major events, such as the European Men's and European Women's Championships, the Women's World Championships, and the Asian Championships, were reporting zero positives. Doping offences were also being dramatically reduced within the National Federations due to the hard work and diligence of IFBB officials around the world.

Here are but a few of the many cases related to the reduction of positive test results worldwide. At the 2002 European Women's Championships in Budapest, Hungary - 18 samples, 0 positives. At the 2002 Women's World Championships in Brno, Czech Republic - 18 samples, 0 positives. At the 2002 Southeast Asian Games in Busan, South Korea: 48 samples, 47 negatives, 1 refusal (same as a positive). At the 2003 European Women's Championships in Izmir, Turkey - 27 samples, 0 positives. At the 2003 European Men's Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia: 21 samples, 20 negatives, 1 manipulation (same as a positive).

WADAAt the 2001 Men's World Championships in Yangon, Myanmar, the IFBB welcomed a thorough review of its Program by an Independent Observer from the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA), a member of the Drug-Free Sport Consortium (DFSC), CASwhich is recognized by the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The final written report of the Observer indicated clearly that the IFBB's Anti-Doping Program was serious and professional in its implementation, including the penalty and result management phases. Of special note was the IFBB's support of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for dispute settlement.

The IFBB's monumental struggle to change the (mis)perception of bodybuilding was finally showing results. Although effective doping control requires huge financing and the concentrated efforts of thousands of officials worldwide, President Weider nonetheless steered a straight path, with the sincere and genuine intent to set an example, particularly for the millions of young amateur bodybuilders around the world whose only desire was to train and compete drug-free; against opponents who were also drug-free.

At the 2002 IFBB International Congress in Cairo, Egypt, the IFBB Executive Council voted to extend doping controls to the top 5 finalists in each category so that IFBB medals could be rightfully awarded to drug-free athletes (in the event of a Positive Test Result among the top 3 finalists).

With the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), headquartered in Montreal, Canada, the IFBB has been a willing stakeholder in the promulgation of a new World Anti-Doping Code and will no doubt become a willing partner in WADA's goal to ensure drug-free sport.

So, where do we go from here? Says Ben Weider, "The answer is simple … we continue the fight! There is too much at stake for the future of the IFBB, the sport and our athletes to give in, even one iota, to cheaters. Drug-free sport is the goal of the IOC, WADA, NADO's [National Anti-Doping Agencies], and governments worldwide. Appropriately, it is the goal of the IFBB as well."

Rafael Santonja (Spain), IFBB Executive Assistant to the President, and IFBB President Ben Weider discussing sport issues with
IOC President for Life Juan Antonio Samaranch



[Update #1]
IFBB President Ben Weider took the first step in a renewed fight against doping by officially signing the WADA Code Acceptance Form on November 12, 2003.
In so doing, the IFBB became a Signatory to the WADA Code.

[Update #2]
From April 2004 to January 2005, the IFBB worked closely with WADA in order to conform the IFBB Anti-Doping Program to the provisions of the WADA Code. On January 26, 2005, WADA stated in part, " ... the rules as presented to us implement the Code as such for your amateur division ..." Thus, the next step in the process of full implementation of the WADA Code is complete.

[Update #3]
On November 27, 2005, at its annual general meeting in Shanghai, China, the IFBB Executive Council and IFBB International Congress amended the IFBB Constitution by inserting a new Article 22 on Doping:

22.1 Position Statement: The practice of sport involves physical health and fitness, dedication to training, and proper nutrition. Doping, which includes the use of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods to artificially enhance performance, is unethical, contrary to the concept of fair play, undermines the values of sport, and can endanger the health of the athletes. The practice of doping is forbidden within the IFBB.

22.2 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code: The IFBB officially recognizes the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as the international authority in anti-doping matters. The IFBB is an official Signatory to the WADA Code and, by means of the IFBB Anti-Doping Rules, conforms to the provisions of the WADA Code.

22.3 Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS): The IFBB officially recognizes the authority of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Further, at this same meeting, the IFB Executive Council and IFBB International Congress adopted new IFBB Anti-Doping Rules and agreed to implement a new In- and Out-of-Competition doping control program as follows:

PROPOSITION #3 (Adopted)
Be it resolved that, in keeping with the decision made by the IFBB Executive Council on November 6, 2003, and by the IFBB Congress on November 9, 2003, in Mumbai, India; said decision which stated:

Be it resolved that the IFBB shall take steps to adopt the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code. Further, once the WADA Code is formally adopted, the IFBB shall take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that its anti-doping program is in full compliance with the Code.

the IFBB adopt the new IFBB Anti-Doping Rules, Version 1.0, and further, that said rules shall have force and effect as of January 1, 2006. *these Anti-Doping Rules are based on the WADA “Models of Best Practice” and are intended to replace the current IFBB Anti-Doping Program.

PROPOSITION #4 (Adopted)
Be it resolved that In-Competition testing be carried out as follows:

A number of athletes selected at random during the Competition e.g. at Weigh-in.
A number of athletes selected at random from among the Top Finalists e.g. at the Finals.

*Note: The IFBB reserves the right to conduct Target Testing

PROPOSITION #5 (Adopted)

Be in resolved that Out-of-Competition testing be carried out in 2007 from a Registered Athlete Testing Pool, said Pool which shall be established in 2006 from among the Top Finalists at all IFBB World Championships.

[Update #4]
On April 1, 2006, IFBB Anti-Doping Directive 2006-001 takes effect; the directive provides comprehensive guidelines on Result Management, Hearings and Appeals.