My Prison Without Bars by Pete Rose


January, 2006

Mario Lemieux Skates Away
.. Free of Steroid Allegations

Mario Lemieux, like Martina Navratilova and Roger Clemens, seems to be one of those few great players who seems to be skating away into retirement with their records and reputations in tact, with no serious allegations ever being leveled at them concerning steroid use. 

Lemieux, one of the great hockey players to ever play the game, came down with cancer in his prime back in the early nineties. He came back from that and returned to the ice in the late nineties only to suffer from a number of severe hip problems. Now he is retiring again, at age 40, due to atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can cause his pulse to flutter wildly and must be controlled by medication.

I'm not saying Lemieux ever used steroids -- perhaps all of his health problems have to do with the side effects of the treatment for his initial cancer, and with playing hockey. But it does seem like a lot of our world class athletes are being struck down in their prime these days. 

Jason Giambi -- pituitary gland enlargement that wasn't cancerous.

Flo Joyner -- died of a heart attack while writing the book "Running for Dummies". 

Lance Armstrong -- cancer in his twenties.

Grete Waitz -- nine-time NYC marathon champion, has been diagnosed with cancer at age 51.

It's an alarming trend. And this list doesn't begin to mention the numerous professional wrestlers who have died of cancer or heart attacks, or of the bizarre injuries incurred by some of our greatest athletes in their prime (see Vladimir Klitschko ripping his knee apart and retiring from boxing at age 34, after only one championship defense). Then there's the just odd behavior some of our premier athletes exhibit: 

Martina Navratilova -- had a face like a man. 

Roger Clemens -- superhuman aggression on the field. (see Clemens throwing bat at Mike Piazza during World Series game.)


-- LouV

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