The important thing isn't weight, it's muscle. "Forearm, the upper arm, the bicep, the shoulder. Most important is the tendons," Camp told us. "If you're a veteran arm wrestler, that's it." He then described several strategies that the pros use to win matches, none of which seemed to match what we saw in the video above. The video also appears to show that Hogan has spent more time focused on muscle development than Ford, indicating that this might not be the determining factor.
Did this molecule assure Ford's victory?
(Image via Wikipedia.)
So we had to ask: Could this have been because of cocaine? First Camp assured us that, even though there was no testing in the sport, he didn't know of drug use in arm wrestling. "I'm the announcer," he insisted. "I don't see somebody snorting cocaine or popping pills before the event. I don't see it." Right, but could it play a role? "Seeing the way baseball is, with [Alex] Rodriguez and all these guys that are involved with drug-enhancing products," he said, "I imagine that it's in most every sport."
Guesswork, however, wouldn't cut it. Dr. Charles Yesalis, professor emeritus at Penn State University, had insight into the actual science.
"I know of no scientific study" of the topic, he told us by phone, "but I do know anecdotally of powerlifters using cocaine before big lifts." That's because cocaine, like an amphetamine, is used in sports to "reduce fatigue and increase aggressiveness," according to Yesalis. As for whether or not that coke use actually helped the lifters, Yesalis wasn't certain. The experiment was not conducted under rigorous testing conditions.
If Ford had used cocaine, the timing would have been tricky. "It would have to be [used], I would suspect, within 10 or 15 minutes" of the competition, Yesalis said. Which, given the number of cameras at the event, would have been tricky. An old ESPN.com report suggests that the timeframe of effectiveness when smoked is even shorter — coming in at five to 10 minutes.
It is also probably not the case that Ford's alleged use of cocaine over time would have helped him build the sort of muscle mass that Camp thought would be an aid. Coke and speed "are not training drugs," Yesalis pointed out. Unlike steroids or human growth hormone, used over long periods to build muscle, cocaine would only be helpful in that brief period before competition. And asked to speculate if it would be helpful even then, Yesalis was noncommittal. As an actual doctor, he apparently wasn't willing to just speculate.
We are. If Ford had smoked crack — an accusation, again, is based only on evidence acquired through hearsay, a video that few people have seen — it may have given him a psychological push for the arm wrestling match. But not necessarily any increased fortitude.
Our analysis yields a fairly conclusive response. No, Rob Ford did not smoke crack before beating Hulk Hogan at an arm wrestling match. Hogan let him win.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.