One of the most accomplished weightlifting coaches in the world, an American by the name of Michael Gingras, has been banned from all competition and from coaching athletes that will compete in competitions by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after a month-long investigation into allegations that he himself was using illegal steroids and was also providing them too many of his clients and athletes.
Already a legend in the competitive weightlifting community, Gingras was also a legend in the Armed Forces as well. During his second tour of duty in Iraq, the combat leader was shot in the head while playing with Iraqi children during a routine sweep of a local town.
Luckily, he was saved by his bulletproof helmet, though he did decide not to reenlist for another tour of duty almost immediately after this incident and instead collected his metals, and honorable discharge, and decided to set out into this new career.
Almost right away Gingras was able to establish himself as a tremendous new voice in the competitive weightlifting world. A religious weightlifting and strength training fanatic while he was in the military, he pursued degrees in physical training, physiology, and strength training immediately upon his discharge and began to rededicate himself to this new career.
By the summer of 2012, he had opened up his own weightlifting operation and gym – Vulcan Weightlifting – and pretty soon it became the largest Olympics Weightlifting community in all of Oregon.
Drawing upon his experience as a military member and as a member of the USA Weightlifting Team, he was able to build up a number of different athletes that went on to locally and internationally – with seven of his weightlifters winning top awards in 2017 alone.
Everything comes to a screeching halt
Unfortunately, in early 2017, Gingras was informed by the USADA that he had been under a lengthy investigation and evidence obtained by this organization suggested that he not only possessed but also trafficked and administered testosterone supplements and steroids that are illegal in the United States and banned from competition – charges that he immediately owned up to and admitted.
He agreed to work hand-in-hand with the USADA to conclude the investigation and to clean up the Oregon community of performance-enhancing drug use, and in so doing was able to receive a more lenient sanction. He is banned from participating in the USA weightlifting program for 12 years, has been stripped of all awards and achievements won from between October 2014 and early 2017, and is not allowed to coach athletes for 12 years, either.
Agreeing that he had done wrong, had circumvented anti-doping organizations and regulations that he understood were already in place, and copping to the fact that he administered performance-enhancing drugs to some of his athletes – without giving up any of the athlete’s names – definitely helped him get a reduced “sentence”, but he still feels it is going to be crippling to his new career.
Committed to continuing his work in the weightlifting and strength conditioning community, he will maintain ownership of Vulcan Weightlifting, will continue to coach athletes in a non-competitive setting, and eagerly anticipates being able to coach those in competitive settings as soon as the sanctions are dropped.
Gingras has also began touring around the local Oregon area and the rest of the Pacific Northwest to offer advice, insight, and lessons learned from his downfall to others in the strength and weightlifting community. He wants to make sure that his story is used to teach others not to make the same mistakes that he made and hopes to help others avoid derailing their career as he did.