The IDFA’s 2011 Montreal Classic was held on April 9. It was there that Brian Robitaille stood in front of a room full of competitors and explained the IDFA’s extensive doping-control procedures. Near the completion of his speech, he paused for a moment and briefly looked down, then raised his eyes to meet those of the competitors and said clearly: “If you are using drugs, we will catch you!” His comment resonated with the dozens of competitors who were happy to hear such a strong anti-drug stance, because they were obviously there to compete naturally. If anyone was there to “beat” the test, their dream would soon be shattered.
If you don’t know who Brian Robitaille is, a little background is in order. He started training in the ‘80s for the fun of it. In the ‘90s, he began competing and was successful at it, but he quickly dropped out of competitions because of the lack of drug-tested ones. He never had any interest in steroids; he’s a lifetime, drug-free bodybuilder. In the year 2000, though, Brian decided to make a comeback because of a rise in popularity of drug-tested events. He won two national-level titles, and he even represented Canada at the IFBB’s world championships. Throughout his competitive career he was tested a number of times and, obviously, always came up clean.
After 2002, Brian decided to retire from competing in order to focus on his career and other sporting activities. He became a paramedic, worked at that for a time, and then took on an administrative role at a recreational facility in his hometown of Ottawa.
Brian stayed involved in bodybuilding through judging and contest promotion, succeeding at both. In 2010, Brian was drawn to the IDFA because of their strong drug-free stance and he immediately liked what the organization was doing and what they stood for – drug-free sport with testing at every event. However, Brian didn’t want to compete this time; instead, he wanted to contribute something that he felt would be more substantial. From the fall of 2010 to the spring of 2011, he worked with IDFA president Shaun Campbell to put into place the toughest and most stringent drug-testing procedures that any organization has ever had in Canada. In turn, Brian became the IDFA’s “Chief Doping Control Officer” and his speech to the athletes in Montreal was the start of his tenure in that role.
The ins and outs of the IDFA’s drug-testing program isn’t important for this article – that’s all explained on the IDFA’s website. What is important is why this major step forward that the IDFA is taking in their drug-testing protocol is so significant. Mostly, it comes down to two things. The first has to do with credibility. Quite simply, in order for bodybuilding and bodybuilders to have any credibility in the mainstream, they must be drug-free. It’s obvious when you look at the cartoon-like, freakish appearance that many bodybuilding winners from other organizations exhibit, they’re not drug-free and, therefore, not credible in the public eye. As a result, there’s no mainstream media exposure, and bodybuilding is more or less relegated to being a sideshow and is farther removed than ever from being a sport. Legitimate drug-testing procedures can help to change all that. Second, most competitors I know don’t want to have to resort to using dangerous, illegal drugs to compete; instead, they want to compete cleanly and safely against other competitors who feel the same and the IDFA gives them a place to compete fairly. Of course, there might be some competitors who will try to “beat the test,” but, as Brian warned in Montreal, they will be caught and, in my opinion, over time these drugged-up cheaters will either stay where they belong, which is in the non-tested events that other organizations gladly put on, or they’ll quit competing altogether.
Steve Duperre was the overall winner at the 2011 IDFA Montreal Classic
These days, bodybuilders have plenty of options for competing. In Canada, there are numerous organizations running dozens of events nationwide. Most of the events are not drug-tested, but some organizations do claim to test some of their competitions. However, it’s one thing to say you’re testing and quite another to back up your words and test all the time. In my opinion, the organization that is not only saying but doing is the IDFA. All of the their events are drug tested, not just some of them, and with Brian Robitaille’s determination and expertise, along with Shaun Campbell’s staunch support and his desire to have a legitimate, drug-free organization, the IDFA will succeed at making bodybuilding credible again and create a fair stage for natural bodybuilders.
. . . Doug Schneider, Publisher
Doug Schneider is the publisher and chief photographer for SeriousAboutMuscle.com.