“….what did French land ever give us?”

“We invented Democracy, Existentialism and the Blow job”

“Those are 3 pretty good things…”

You could probably add to that list, Champagne, soft cheeses and Berets, but I don’t think many people want to take credit for wearing Berets.

Add to the list one more. The coining of a new term: ‘The Vichy Gym’



June 1940, an armistice is signed between Germany and France (which had just been over run by it),  which led to the establishment of a puppet, Nazi-aligned southern zone of the French mainland, plus an occupied Northern zone.

From that point, until 1944 when the Allies liberated France, the French government controlling the southern zone established the town of Vichy to the south of Paris as its capital. Former WW1 war-hero Marshal Phillipe Petain was the Chief of State, he and the central government’s acquiescence to the occupying Germany forces led to his eventual trial and prosecution for treason. Signing an armistice with Germany, and later with Italy, the Vichy France period was taken as an opportunity for French nationalism themes to gain traction. Since the establishment of the 4th Republic in 1870 the earlier 20th century bohemian culture and modernism centered particularly around Paris, was seen as not being truly French. Making the best of a bad situation so-to-speak, this German occupation allowed some in France to turn against their own.


The Vichy Gym has an armistice with PED users who compete in regulated competitions. They are going-along with their presence in the gym. Beyond just letting recreational PED users exercise their free choice whilst exercising in the gym, the Vichy Gym allows the competition PED user to run seminars and leverage social media coverage off of circus performance lifts of the visiting lifter; a lifter who claims competition results devoid of acknowledging their PED use and certainly no shame in its truths.

In the commercial sense, it is necessary for a gym to leverage off of high performance and appear to be a serious gym. Impressing credulous potential customers has always and will always be a way of any commercial venture to separate people from their money.

This page has discussed many times the challenges of balancing competition regulation, free choice of individuals and the role of government. That balance is often poorly struck and leaves ironic scenarios of budding competition lifters paying high premium on advice from lifters who have only known a culture of training totally ingrained with PED use in competition.

From the WADA code……

All Athletes are prohibited from associating with any such Athlete Support Personnel pursuant to Article 2.10 of the Code. However,

Athletes should be aware that they are also prohibited from associating with any Athlete or other Person

who is currently serving a period of ineligibility, and who has, while ineligible, acted as an Athlete Support Person.


It’s serious stuff. The rules are non-ambiguous; those competitors breaking the rules on doping are stealing from those who are not. Associating with is giving cover.


2016 Australian of the Year Lt General Retired David Morrison AO, famously used the expression,the standard you walk past is the standard you accept’, in regards to the treatment of women in the military.

Just as equality of women in the workplace and in society is the topic area that never really goes away, the presence of PED used in sport is always pregnant within every discussion about high-level training and competition.

Free choice and competition rules separate general life from sport. You may hot-up your car, but it may exclude you from certain motor-racing. Hotting-up your car in principle is considered a niche hobby practiced by mostly male enthusiasts. An ode to one of the 20th century’s greatest inventions. Perform that same act covertly as a part of competition and you are a cheat….. its not the modification, it’s the cheating. Conflating an ethic of libertarianism with the ethic of fair play in a sport with rules is no brave or heroic act.


The argument over whether practices SHOULD be illegal or not, the intrusion of government in people’s private lives, and application to the rules are different arguments and should be seen as such. The ‘Vichy gym‘ that turns a blind eye to cheating advances no cause except that of its own hypocrisy.