Steroids: The Dark Side of Myrtle Beach Strongest Man Competition

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David Hucks
David Hucks
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at

Presented by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, the World’s Strongest Man competition kicked off Wednesday night. Al Thompson reached out to our news team, telling us about a history of steroid use associated with the Strongest Man Competition.

A fan fest offers event-goers the chance to eat and shop among the many vendors.

A jumbotron live streams the event, so athletes can greet fans there.

It ends with the crowning of a champion on Sunday.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the competition for the second consecutive year.

Myrtle Beach is not expected to host the event next year.

Says Thompson,

I  have linked and attached some articles, photos and posters that hopefully paints an accurate picture of what’s been going on with regards to steroid use and the culture that makes up the IMG “World’s Strongest Man” TV competition that’s being held this week in Myrtle Beach, SC. 

It is the second consecutive year Myrtle Beach has hosted the event that’s been rebuked twice by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the competition’s lack of testing for steroids, rampant steroid use and high fatality rate. Both votes for these non binding resolutions were unanimous with a total of 41 co-sponsors. 

I have been covering pro, college, and high school sports for over 35 years.

I have covered 27 Super Bowls, including 2024 in Las Vegas.  I love strength sports… I was a high school strength coach on a powerhouse football team near Philly for seven years. The Number one question I was asked by parents was “how do I keep my son away from steroids?” 

I love strength sports. I ran a major pro strongman show in Philadelphia for a number of years and brought in competitors from WSM and “The Arnold Strongman Classic.”

My show was part of the July 4th celebration called “Welcome America!” and was in front of tens of thousands of people on the Parkway every year in front the famous Art Museum. Over 500,000 attend “Welcome America!” every year. We promoted the event with main stream sports teams (2004 to 2011)…it was so big IMG recruited me to host a “World’s Strongest Man” for two years (2008-2010). 

My goal all along was bring drug testing to the World’s Strongest Man competition. I was a fool. Once the “Welcome America!” promoters and I told the IMG officials in London that the only way we would host WSM in Philly was if there was serious drug testing. IMG disappeared.

I came to realize the lack of testing for steroids was intentional. I shut down the event the next year. I started to record the deaths of competitors. The POYS effort started in 2012 and I registered Protect Our Youth from Steroids (POYS) in 2016.  We have been chasing IMG ever since to get it drug tested or shut down.   

Below I am just going to describe the items one-by-one.

In 2019, I was asked by the staff of Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee to meet with Helsinki Committee Senior Advisor Paul Massaro to help get a new piece of legislation “The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act” become law.

I did. My nonprofit plus the NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA Tour and all the Olympic teams became endorsers of the legislation that now makes sports doping at international athletic events that involve Americans an act of felony fraud. 

I became the lone lobbyist for the anti-doping legislation.

I visited the offices of over 40 House Representatives and US Senators from 2019 to March 2020 talking up the law and asking elected officials to formally adapt events like IMG’s “World’s Strongest Man” to the legislation that passed unanimously in the House via voice call and 100-0 in the Senate. That was in December 2020. 

We believe WSM is in violation of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act.

Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce CEO Karen Riordan and Mayor Bethune won’t speak to me about steroids at WSM.  

I did three speaking appearances at high schools about the dangers of steroid use and about those who promote and glorify steroid use.

I spoke to a large crowd (600 kids) at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach March 7, 2023.

The first link is to a story published on USA Today Delaware and hosted by Yahoo Sports on March 18, 2024. This article is about my struggles with the University of Delaware and getting officials from the athletic department and the school to talk about the problems they caused when the university openly promoted the 2023 “World’s Strongest Man”. One of their assistant strength coaches was in the steroid-infested competition.

That strength coach is schedule to compete this week.  

Nonprofit battling steroid use critical of UD coach’s participation in strongman events

Strongest Man Competition

October 3, 2024 was my second meeting with a top official of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Kelly Fabian confirmed POYS is in line for a congressional hearing to bring in the owners of competitions like “World’s Strongest Man” to ask why they refuse to test competitors for steroids when they know it is rampant and that there have been fatalities. 

It is no secret that Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is using steroids. He is a bad example for kids especially since he is now partnered with IMG and the WWE – which IMG purchased 50 percent ownership of in April 2023.

Johnson is also partnered with IMG for a steroid-themed event in Atlanta called “Athleticon.” It is scheduled to feature a “World’s Strongest Man” competition and also IFBB/NPC pro bodybuilding….all steroids.

The deaths of former WSM competitors hit home more as many of the steroid-related deaths of IMG athletes are former high school football players.

POYS also wants to let people know there are qualifiers for these events in every state in America….where POYS and many elected officials believe young people are introduced to the “dark side” of steroid use.

Here is a link to the brief interview on WBTW Channel 13 that I did on zoom that was recorded Monday April 22, 2024 and aired on Tuesday April 23, 2024.

Al Thompson
Founder-POYS Protect Our Youth from Steroids

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