â€œZach Lund, the top slider on the U.S. skeleton team, was banned from the Torino Olympics on Friday for taking a common hair-restoration pill that can be used to mask steroids.â€
Since I have been following this story closely, I felt obligated to share my thoughts on today’s update. The US Anti-Doping Agency originally felt that Lund should receive a public warning and relinquish his medal from the recent World Cup event. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency had another idea and banned him from competition for a full year. It all seems outrageous to me.
Somehow I find it hard to believe that Skeleton athletes rely on steroids to increase performance. I cannot attest 100% that Lund did not use Propecia to mask the use of muscle enhancers but I find the connection unfortunate. He has not been training for the Olympics with me by his side so I don’t think the establishment would take an â€œelderlyâ€ scholar’s opinion like mine. Zach Lund, like millions of men in America, has a justified medical condition. As a 26 year old, he is taking charge of his physical image and obviously desired to reverse his hair loss patterns, which are certainly not helped by the stress of training. His very reasonable, take-charge position to hold on to his hair has now taken his career (4 years of work and passion) down the drain. Lund’s Olympic Dreams are shattered and I would doubt that this drug could impact his muscle mass. Of all the 80 pound weaklings I have treated with Propecia, not one has become a 400 moose (or even a fraction of that). The punishment seems harsh for just wanting to save his hair.
Lund recently was quoted by 1998 Gold Medalist Nikki Stone for Yahoo Sports as saying, “I definitely made a mistake by not staying up with [the updated banned drug list]. I’ve been losing my hair since I was a teenager and I’ve had a prescription for the last seven years and it was never an issue until this year. Whenever I’ve been tested, I always let them know that I was taking [Propecia]. I never had anything to hide.”
In the end, it is up to each athlete to be aware of any banned substances, so Zach Lund is not completely faultless. However, he is not given much choice in the matter. For Lund, as for all athletes, it now a matter of choice: be bald, or try to become an Olympic/professional athlete. I guess the establishment is saying, â€œBe bald!â€
I’ve previously mentioned Zach Lund’s Propecia “problem” last month, Balding Olympic Athletes Promoted.