Tragic Tales – Andreas Munzer: Part and parcel of the bodybuilding world is the use and abuse of the drugs that make the sport what it is- a massive freak show. Though it is not much of a secret and something of a black mark against a sport that is ostensibly considered “healthy,” the use of performance enhancing substances by elite athletes dates as far back as the ancient Olympics, and in spite of cautionary tales like this one, more than half the elite athletes surveyed still say that they would take a drug that would allow them to become the best at their respective sport even if it would kill them in the next five years (Reynolds).
One such cautionary tale is that of Andreas Münzer (b. 1964 d. 1996), a living anatomy map who achieved fame in the 1990s as the most suicidally lean bodybuilder on Earth… who tragically also happened to be perhaps the most frequent competitor on the Earth as well. At 5’9” and 240 pounds, Münzer wasn’t exactly outsized by his opponents, but Münzer wasn’t trying to compete on size- he was instead competing on condition. Stringy, nasty, feathered muscle covered every square inch of his frame, and Münzer displayed a level of definition no one will likely ever achieve again.
That, however, was an issue. Münzer for all intents and purposes lived on diuretics for years, and doing so took its toll on his physique. Over the course of six and a half years, Münzer competed in 21 bodybuilding shows, with the two high points of his career being third and fourth in the Arnold Classic in 1990 and 1995, respectively. Though he wasn’t a favorite of the judges, he had a rabid fanbase owing to his insanely extreme conditioning, and was thus an incredibly prominent bodybuilder in the magazines.
All of that came to an end, however, when Münzer was rushed to the hospital after suffering from severe stomach pain for months. Within hours, Münzer’s liver and kidneys failed, and he died of multiple organ failure. Upon autopsy, doctors discovered that his liver was filled with tennis-ball sized tumors and the “healthy” portions crumbled like styrofoam dust, and they found his heart to be twice the normal size. Even if he’d not died in the hospital, doctors said he had less than a year to live due to his significant heart disease.
Reynolds, Gretchen. Phys Ed: Will Olympic Athletes Dope if They Know It Might Kill Them? New York Times. 20 Jan 2010. Web. 10 Jan 2020. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/phys-ed-will-olympic-athletes-dope-if-they-know-it-might-kill-them/