If you saw the Clint Eastwood film, "The Dead Pool," you'll remember that the movie was based on a gambling pool that included many prominent San Franciscans, including Dirty Harry himself. Everyone on the list — the dead pool — was targeted for death. Just a movie, you say? Perhaps. But eavesdrop at any hard-core gym's juice bar, and you'll start to hear bodybuilding's own version of this mortal oddsmaking. Rather than arguing about which pro has the best arms or the most pleasing physique, they banter about who's going to be the next to die!
What are their guesses based on? For the most part, rumors of outrageous drug usage, backed up by insane muscle gains in short periods of time and dramatic and easily apparent physical symptoms--all of which point to the possibility that one or more may soon kick the bucket.
We published the first "Dead Pool" on the Testosterone web site in 1998. Of course, in bodybuilding, the names and faces come and go. Some get smart and retire. Others get injured. Others die. Here's the latest, updated version of the Dead Pool:
First of all, let me defend authors like myself who occasionally have to resort to using "Anonymous" as the byline to an article. Some of you choose to consider such a practice an act of pure cowardice. If, however, any of you write, have written, or know a writer, you would know that most of them live to see their name after the title of any article. We like seeing our names better than we do watching streaming video of Pamela Anderson banging the crap out of some former boyfriend/80s glam-rock singer.
Insecure and with hungry egos that constantly need to be sated, most writers hate having to use pen names rather than their own. It pains me not to put my name on this and the previous two Dead Pools, but doing so would immediately take away the coveted and hard-earned trust and access I have within the bodybuilding world. So stop bitching about writers not using their actual names and enjoy the freaking article!
Remember, as always in the Dead Pool, the names have been changed to protect the damned.
And the Momo Benaziza award for "Most Likely to Die Within Four Hours of an IFBB Contest" goes to? this Frankenstein's monster-looking muff. It's the third time in a row Blackenstein here has made the ol' Dead Pool. As it is, he has such a tough time holding his poses that he damn near passes out every time he has to endure a prejudging. And the boatloads of drugs (including a reputed 18 IU of GH a day!) he takes don't help his chances of living to a ripe old age, like forty-five.
Weighing 330 in the off-season isn't healthy for anyone's heart, and we know he gasps and wheezes constantly like that crippled black kid on Fox's Malcolm in the Middle. Now he's taken to taunting the Reaper by being a complete moron when it comes to last-minute pre-contest tricks. Freezing at the Arnold a few years back due to diuretics was bad; being hospitalized while competing after going into insulin shock was worse; but how idiotic is it to not eat or drink anything at all in the final 24 hours before the last Mr. Olympia to try to "hold his condition"? Don't that beat all?
Not surprisingly, he had to bail out of yet another big show, or as the score sheet so euphemistically states, "withdrew due to injury." Injury? What is this, ultimate fighting? Last I saw, bodybuilding contests were just a bunch of guys posing their muscles, all oiled up. Sure, sometimes the floor gets slippery with posing oil and sweat, and someone could fall or twist an ankle. And to be fair, oftentimes the posedowns get a bit rough, with occasional elbowing and shoving. But come on now, how can you expect injuries in such a non-contact sport? Thanks to the dopey practices of developmentally-challenged chemical kamikazes as Frankenmonster, expect a lot more close calls at contest time, and inevitably a death or two. Congrats on the three-peat!
He's famous for being one of the few bodybuilders to do time in the klink and return to the sport. Let's give him fair credit for that. Now, let's see how much regard he seems to have for his health ? close to none. How much of a weekly dosage of steroids would you consider excessive and dangerous? Would you say, one thousand milligrams? Three thousand? Still not impressed? Okay, I hope you're sitting down. Biff uses a whopping nine thousand milligrams a week to build his physique. He's known to use two to three grams a week of Testosterone, which is a lot of steroids in and of itself. No wonder he went bald at age 30. (Sorry, good look for Shaft, bad look for white guys.)
Add a gram or two of Deca, a generous amount of GH, and you're starting to see why his tummy sticks out like a little turtle shell. As painful as his training is, he also feels the need to use a bottle of Nubain a day. If the drugs don't kill him, his new wife just might, if she ever finds out about his several girlfriends. The drug this guy really needs to start taking is Pectorabol ? 'cuz he has definitely got the wimpiest chest in pro bodybuilding.
Let's all give a hearty T-mag welcome to the first woman to be inducted into the hallowed Dead Pool. Boy, what a statement for women's equality. You've come a long way, baby! Francine is a Canadian transplant to Los Angeles who chooses not to compete, instead wanting to be known as the thickest female bodybuilder ever. At 5-6 and a very hard 230 pounds, I have a feeling she may have already earned this distinction, though the recognition will be slow to come. (Does she think sponsors will be knocking down her door for endorsements?)
Part of her drug stack includes 500 mg a day of Test, plus 400 mg of Deca. Yikes! Our Canadian princess is stronger than shit, with an 800-pound leg press for 20 reps, and a 285-pound bench press. She's constantly complaining of injection site infections in the delts and glutes, which can be a real bummer. She also has constant five o'clock shadow and the dreaded Barry White voice. In fact, one night Francine was shaving in the woman's bathroom at her gym, topless (she has no breasts whatsoever ? only pecs) with a towel draped around her waist, when in should traipse three female members. Their screams pierced the din of the exercise floor as they fled, shouting, "There's a man in the women's locker room!"
Believe it or not, she has a loving husband who is a little weenie compared to her's. Rumor has it, he tried to commit suicide when she threatened to leave him. Bro, lighten up. You can find a chick with a three-inch clit somewhere else, I imagine. I'm not saying that Frankie here takes more drugs than any other woman in history, but it wouldn't surprise me. Welcome to the Pool, sister!
This guy really has one of the very best physiques in pro bodybuilding, though getting shafted by the judges ten times over eventually convinced him that his IFBB career wasn't all it was cracked up to be. He's also the only person in this year's Dead Pool who doesn't use a lot of gear, and has a warm and friendly personality to all he meets. Dopeman practices the "less is more" approach with regard to anabolics, subsisting on a mere 3 or 4 Dianabols a day and about 200-300 mg of enanthate a week for most of the year. So what the hell is he doing on this list?
Well, steroids are a little risky, but certain recreational drugs and combinations thereof are virtually like playing Russian Roulette with two slugs in the cylinder. Dopeman loves Ecstasy, like many Americans these days, and he has also grown fond of animal tranquilizers. Yup, the same type of thing that lets those animal researchers tag nasty Grizzly bears on the ear keeps our guy mellowed out.
Trouble is, he combines the two. Ecstasy contains a variant of methamphetamine, which gets a person all jacked up. It seems like this would confuse the hell out of anyone's system. At a club several weeks ago, while on this deadly drug cocktail, he was talking to someone when he suddenly passed out and hit the floor ? all 245 pounds of him. Paramedics were called and took Dopeman away.
With the addictive nature of these drugs, this frightening episode probably won't be enough to get him to quit the recreational drug usage. I'll be sad to hear it, but knowing this makes me feel like Death can't be too far away for this genuinely nice guy.
Croc, I hate to keep putting you here, but why do you continue to reserve a prime spot for yourself? In an Ironman interview last year, little big man claims that he has never been a heavy user of anabolics. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this point. He's a bonafide genetic freak, so he probably can get by on far less than what people assume he uses. Again, this time it's not the drugs that get him on the list. What does earn him a position is his habit of blowing up to 275-280 pounds in the off-season (at 5'5"), then somehow coming down to a shredded 220 in just five weeks.
He does this once or twice a year, depending on whether he competes in the spring shows or not. Usually he does. But hold up, wait a minute. Did I mention the types of foods he eats when he's vying for the title of Little Shamu? Croc stuffs himself with Kentucky Fried Chicken family buckets, Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, Twinkies, and Ding Dongs. Hello, Roto Rooter? Could you come down here with one those snake things and scrape this plaque off my arterial walls? Holy Moly!
Combine the extra weight with the high blood pressure and you have a heart attack waiting to happen. As someone once opined about Croc, "He's one Big Mac away from the Big One." Hey, I don't want you to die, Holmes, so ya think you could stay just a bit leaner in the off-season? It won't kill you if you miss out on a few dozen donuts and large fries.
Yes, Goliath here has been in the Pool before, and he seems to be chugging along just fine. But for how long? Let me comment, if I may, on his billing as being the world's strongest bodybuilder. (I know I'm off the subject) The dude gets up to four bills, and everyone gushes over how he can incline press 600 pounds on a Smith Machine. Do the math. That's like a 200-pound bodybuilder using 300 pounds. Guess what? I know plenty of guys that can do that. Only they weren't born with big, clunky, mutant genetics that let them grow to 400 pounds.
Okay, let's get to the stack, jack. Mongo puts away an entire box of GH a week (that's 18 IU a day), plus various and sundry anabolics totaling up to ten thousand milligrams a week. Shazam! I suppose someone of that size would need to use a higher amount than your average lifter, but who can possibly need an entire ten grams? O-oh, almost forgot. Big boy also slams a sizeable amount of Nubain to numb the constant pain of life as the world's biggest sideshow freak.
To be honest, this is a man I never expected to be in the Pool. He has carefully portrayed himself as a wealthy, intelligent, sophisticated, mannered, debonaire gentleman ? clouds above the average uncouth mongrels that are his fellow competitors. This fellow has one of the best physiques in history, and has placed top three in the Olympia on many occasions, yet he isn't well-liked in the sport at all. His habit of talking trash and bashing his fellow pro's has nearly gotten him beaten up badly more than once.
Most of the guys who frequently make up the top seven at the Mr. Olympia hate his guts and would love to smack the ever-present smug look off his face. What has saved him from many an ass-whupping is the assurance that he would be on the phone to a lawyer in no time flat to file a lawsuit. As suave as this dude pretends to be, he apparently isn't too bright about his steroid use.
The amounts used are high, and he does nothing to detoxify his liver. Now he has serious liver problems. Some have commented on his jaundiced yellow eyes at times, which would be enough to scare the average bodybuilder out of his current bad habits. I always thought this guy, who has been a pro since the age of 22, knew better than to be so reckless with his body. Now that we discover the intelligence was just an act, he's made his way onto our happy little Dead Pool. I bet he's got a hell of a collection of tailored suits for his family to choose when it's time to bury him.
Even if I used his real name, odds are that many of you wouldn't recognize this top-five national-level heavyweight. Today's crop of amateurs just ain't what it used to be. Less than ten years ago you would have Flex Wheeler, Kevin Levrone, and Paul DeMayo all in the top five at the NPC Nationals in the same year. Now it's a mishmosh of guys you've never heard of unless you religiously study NPC News. But back to Smiley. Mr. Crump loves the test. Even with a mere five weeks to go before the USA or Nationals, you can see him puffed up to 280, looking ruddy and waterlogged, like he has sun poisoning or perhaps an allergic reaction. Somehow, barely a month later, he's down to a shredded 230 pounds.
How do these guys come down so fast? Only their hairdressers know for sure. This has got to be a landmark Dead Pool, because in the new millenium steroids are slipping as the major risk factor, while recreational drugs are kicking ass. Why do you think this guy is called Smiley? It's because whenever he comes to the gym to train, he's so loaded on Ecstasy and Nubain that he's definitely feeling no pain.
Occasional use of Ecstasy is probably no big deal, but training all the time while on a drug that dramatically raises your blood pressure and body temperature has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of. Is that the condition you want to be in when you rep out with 500 pounds on the squat? The scythe of the Reaper is probably already swishing the air around Smiley's head, and it might not be long before he connects.
Jesus said, "suffer unto me the children." Meanwhile, some greedy steroid dealer in LA said, "children are suckers, and rich kids are the best suckers of all." This juvenile trio, ranging in age from 17 to 20, are on a staggering drug stack that far exceeds anything they could possibly need to build muscle mass. One has jaundice, another has lost much of his hair, and a third had a scrape with the law for beating his girlfriend up in the midst of a 'roid rage. All three have the telltale back and shoulder acne and moon faces of heavy androgen use.
The sad thing is that only one of these kids looks anything like a bodybuilder. The other two are no more than 170-180 pounds, but strong as shit. (Would you believe 180-pound one-arm dumbbell rows?) Part of their stack (a very small part) includes three Anadrol-50 tabs a day, which they stay on year-round. Ouch! If their livers don't look like Swiss cheese yet, they will soon enough. Despite being so young and small, all three take at least as much gear as your average 280-pound bodybuilder who's been training heavy and juicing for over a decade.
If indeed these three young scamps have a drug "guru" designing their programs, he or she should be ready for the inevitable wrongful death lawsuit in a couple years. Death at a young age is always a tragedy, and is made even more senseless when it comes from the pursuit of such a shallow goal. I know that it may seem worthwhile to risk your life for big muscles when you're a teenager, but if these kids live long enough, they'll look back with regret at what they did to their young, developing bodies in order to reach a goal that few people could give a rat's ass about anyway.
Huey, Dewey, and Louie are hereby recognized as the youngest-ever members of the Dead Pool. What do you put their odds at? Young bodies are quite resilient, but they will only take so much abuse before some major organ shuts down and their clocks run out.
DP2K is proud to announce a second woman into our special little group. Mr. Sister is a national-level heavyweight gal, but most people think she's a 'roided up man in drag. She's big, she's ugly, and she uses a shitload of steroids. The red face and protruding belly tell you that she can keep up with any man when it comes to downing fistfuls of pills and injecting a few loaded syringes a day.
In efforts to appear more feminine, she got some horrible breast implants that look more like alien growths than actual tits. Additionally, her thyroid has shut down from unnecessary use of thyroid medication, and she now needs to take 4, 25-mg tablets of Cytomel a day in the off-season for normal function. That amount doubles come pre-contest time. She had better hope Death isn't a shmoe looking for a hot date one of these Saturday nights.
That's the list for the year 2000. Place your bets, and watch the gossip columns. Who will be the next bodybuilder to die from drug abuse? Only the Lord above knows, and that's what makes the Dead Pool so exciting. To those of you in the pool, I wish you lots of luck. You're all going to need it.