Steroid Testing Results in Ban of Top Olympic Weightlifters from “Average Broz’s Gymnasium”

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The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has banned two top Olympic weightlifters from “Average Broz’s Gymnasium” in Las Vegas, Nevada. Patrick Mendes and Joshua Gilbert have been banned by the anti-steroid organization after testing positive for prohibited substances. Neither athlete tested positive for anabolic steroids which are often associated with sports involving power and strength. However, many non-steroidal drugs also have performance-enhancing effects and/or are used to mask the use of anabolic steroids.

Mendes failed anti-doping controls on February 7 and February 27, 2012 prior to the 2012 United States Olympic Team Trials for Weightlifting that determined who would represent the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Mendes was the top-ranked U.S. Olympic weightlifter at over 105 kilograms and the best chance for a medal in London. Each time he tested positive for human growth hormone (hGH).

Mendes’ suspension for hGH was only the beginning of the bad news for “Average Broz’s Gym”. Joshua Gilbert, a promising Olympic lifter who also trained under John Broz, tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide at the 2012 National Weightlifting Championships. The Weightlifting Championships was held in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Trials as part of the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus (Ohio) on March 2, 2012. While diuretics such as furosemide are listed as a masking agent due to their ability to help eliminate steroids and other PEDs from the body, they are also used to help athletes make weight in sports with multiple weight classes such as weightlifting, boxing and wrestling.

Both hGH and furosemide are prohibited by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Anti-Doping Policy. The IWF has adopted the World Anti-Doping Code.

Mendes and Gilbert were proteges of renowned weightlifting coach John Broz. Broz lived and trained with legendary Bulgarian superheavyweight Antonio Krastev during his competitive career. Krastev recorded a world record snatch of 216 kilograms in 1987. During Broz’s apprenticeship, he learned the intricacies of the Bulgarian system and brought them to America when he opened his own training facilities in Las Vegas.

Mendes was suspended for two years. Gilbert was suspended for three years after he refused to participate in a second anti-doping control on March 20, 2012.

The suspensions of Mendes and Gilbert represent major setbacks for “Average Broz’s Gym” and the sport of weightlifting in the United States.


USADA. (July 17, 2012). US Weightlifting Athlete, Gilbert, Accepts Sanction For Anti-Doping Rule Violation. Retrieved from http://www.usada.org/media/sanction-gilbert07172012

USADA. (April 16, 2012). US Weightlifting Athlete, Mendes, Accepts Sanction For Anti-Doping Rule Violation. Retrieved from http://www.usada.org/media/sanction-mendes4162012