Bishop Dolegiewicz, who was former Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson’s first supplier of anabolic steroids, at the age of 55 on October 28, 2008. Dolegiewicz was a three-time Olympic track and field athlete for Canada and considered one of the all-time best throwers (particularly in the shot put and discus) in sports history. He also competed in the World’s Strongest Man competition and was widely considered to be one of the strongest men in the world. His . However, since this is an anabolic steroid blog, I will focus on Dolegiewicz significant role in the history of anabolic steroids in sports.
When Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for stanozolol during the 100 meter finals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the reaction triggered the largest government-sponsored investigation into performance enhancing drugs in history by Canada. The Dubin “ ” (aka Dubin Inquiry) produced 14,000 pages of testimony from 119 witnesses at the cost of $3-4 million in 1989. The Dubin Inquiry is credited with breaking the code of omert regarding anabolic steroid use in sports.
The Dubin Inquiry also revealed that Bishop Dolegiewicz was widely considered to be a major steroid supplier for many track and field athletes in Canada, including Ben Johnson. He was also known for his expertise and knowledge on anabolic steroids and anabolic pharmacology.
Bishop Dolegiewicz’s name surfaced early in the Inquiry from other track and field witnesses. He was described as someone with a fund of knowledge on performance-enhancing substances and a ready supply of drugs to sell. He was characterized as someone who would readily share with his fellow athletes his knowledge and expertise about specific drugs, the cycling of drugs, their side effects, and other such matters.
Bishop Dolegiewicz first learned about steroids from athletes at the University of Texas in the early 1970s. According to his , Dolegiewicz was the Assistant Strength Coach at the University of Texas at Austin when the Longhorn Football team went undefeated with an 11-0 record. The University of Texas Longhorns were 11-0 in 1969 when they won the first of two consecutive Division 1-A College Football Championships.
Dolegiewicz obtained many of the steroids that he sold to Canadian track and field athletes from Don’s Pharmacy run by former pharmacist Don Von Minden in Austin, Texas (“,” June 27, 1989).
Bishop Dolegiewicz, testifying before a Government commission investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, also said that he obtained many of the steroids he distributed from a pharmacy in Austin, Tex. Dolegiewicz, a 35-year-old native of Toronto, graduated from the University of Texas in 1981.
Although his appearance before the commission lasted barely 90 minutes, Dolegiewicz described in some detail the drug-filled world in which he lived, competing for Texas and Canada. And it hardly changed – from 1972, his freshman year at Texas when he estimated that half the throwers he competed against in college used steroids; to 1985, when he retired from a sport he felt was saturated with drug users.
”At the higher levels of competition,” he said of the throwing events of track and field, ”I would be hard-pressed to find the name of an individual who hasn’t used steroids.”
Dolegiewicz confirmed that in 1983 and 1984 he supplied Mike Spiritosa, another Canadian shot-putter, with 1,000 tablets of an anabolic steroid called Dianabol. Each time, he said, he had obtained the drugs with a doctor’s prescription from Don’s Pharmacy in Austin, and he charged Spiritosa what he paid.
Bishop Dolegiewicz was anfor the Canadian track and field team. He taught Charlie Francis (Ben Johnson’s coach) how to use steroids and helped design steroid cycles for several athletes.
During the period of his active competition, Mr. Dolegiewicz was a resource on drug information for other athletes. He knew Charlie Francis and was one of the initial sources of supply of steroids to Mr. Francis for use by his sprinters. From time to time Mr. Dolegiewicz also provided Mr. Francis with advice about specific drugs; for example, in 1982 he advised that Winstrol was to be preferred over Dianabol because it was milder. As well, Mr. Doelgiewicz assisted athletes such as Angella Issajenko with the structuring of their steroid cycles, and on occasion he administered injections of steroids.
Charlie Francis coached Ben Johnson for several years and introduced Johnson to anabolic steroids in 1981. Ben Johnson used very low-dose Dianabol (methandrostenolone) during his first steroid cycles. Francis obtained Johnson’s supply from Bishop Dolegiewicz (“,” March 2, 1989).
Mr. Francis said that Mr. Johnson embarked on three-week cycles of Dianabol, first taking five milligrams daily, later alternating between 5 and 10 milligram tablets.
The coach said they were part of a supply of 500 tablets he had received from Bishop Dolegiewicz, a Canadian shot putter who participated in the 1976 Olympics. Later, Mr. Francis said, doctors in the United States and Canada, including Dr. Astaphan, replaced Mr. Dolegiewicz as his drug supplier.
Charlie Francis replaced Bishop Dolegiewicz as his steroid supplier with Dr. Jamie Astaphan for undisclosed reasons. From testimony at the Dubin Inquiry, it appears there may have been a falling out between Francis and Dolegiewicz.
In another incident, Dolegiewicz acknowledged taking a large bottle containing several hundred Dianabol tablets to the 1983 world championships in Helsinki, Finland.
”They were supposed to be for the sprint group,” he said, alluding to Canadian runners in the meet. ”But then they decided they didn’t want to use them anymore.”
Dolegiewicz denied the previous testimony of Charlie Francis, who was Ben Johnson’s coach, and Rob Gray, another Canadian shot-putter, who had said that Dolegiewicz had intended to sell the drugs to whomever wanted them, only to be thwarted when Soviet athletes, with their own supplies, were underselling him.
Bishop Dolegiewicz retired from active competition after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and went on to become a very successful coach, most recently at Southern Utah University. As a coach, he has consistently advised against steroid use in athletics. Dolegiewicz died in his sleep on October 28, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Anna Dolegiewicz, a competitive athlete and an assistance coach at Utah Valley University.