I really hate this question so much. For example: would you walk onto a soccer field and ask a coach if the USA rarely wins the men's World Cup because everyone else takes drugs? Doesn't that sound ridiculous?
The other reason I hate this question is because it implies something that is NOT TRUE. It falsely implies that you must take drugs to be a high level Olympic Weightlifting athlete. The reason why the USA hasn't won medals at the Olympics -consistently- is because we do not have a training system, and we do not have a qualifying system that rewards improving athletes.
According to Dr Herrera, he has produced drug-free world champions, while they were training under him - including Colombian and Cuban athletes. What he says is the secret is Hard Work, intelligently designed. For a drug free lifter to succeed, they must do high volume with a strategy. The average US lifter probably does half the repetitions I do in a week. Hell, I just turned 30, and I'm just getting really good at this sport, and this coincides with some major overhauls in my training ( ok, ok, it's also good genetics , I'm only doing 1,000 things at once vs 10,000 things at once, and I halved my normal work commute, Alleluia!! ).
A recent article by Dr Herrera on Alexeev, details how he went from a no-name lifter to the lifting Icon of the 70's. If you look at Alexeev's results, for SIX LONG YEARS, he was NOT at the level of elite athletes in the world. In 1961, Alexeev was told him he was not good for lifting because of his mediocre results. From 1962 to 1966, his results did increase as a result of his bodyweight increases and not his lifting.
On the contrary, athletes who use drugs do a high intensity program- and you've probably noticed the parade of "popped" athletes, particularly, from places who tout maxing out a whole lot. For the clean athlete, a high intensity program is not a long term solution to success; it's a long term plan for injury. Finally, doping leads to negative side effects: the Soviet Union had an experiment with athletes in non-doped and doped training programs, and there was a special hospital just to treat the side effects of the doped athletes.
Doping exists in weightlifting because of bad coaching. High intensity and drugs is not a training system; it's what people who don't know how to manage training loading do in countries with poor anti-doping and recovery systems infrastructure and -- which is especially why you see athletes from third world countries get popped.
Ok, so if you're not connecting with my paraphrase of Dr Herrera's knowledge of how people have won without drugs and it was better for their health --and you think I'm all rainbows and unicorns in this post...then think about this....
Look around you. How many people do you see on facebook and youtube squatting as much as an Olympic Champion weightlifter. I would guess that most of them aren't on drugs, just by shear odds. There's a lot of people in our country, who have adequate leg strength and Never materialize into an elite lifter. This all traces back to clean athletes doing bad programs.
Once again, just on the odds, even if only a small percentage of the really strong people in this country had genetics for Olympic weightlifting, we would still have more medalists. Just look at Kendrick Farris, he gets drug tested every 2 minutes and has been seen lifting world record level weights on youtube. Perhaps, with some technical and training adjustments, world championship medals could become a reality.
Look at Tara Nott, she won the Gold for the USA at the 2000 Olympics, and she must have gotten drug tested a whole lot living at the US Olympic Training Center (ohhh yeah, most people fail to recognize that the last US Gold medal won in weightlifting was Tara Nott (Cunningham) and not Chuck Vinci's Gold in 1960).
You know why we don't have more champions in USA weightlifting: we don't have a training system.
Ok, well, I have a training system ;)
Risto Sports Soviet Certification, Dr. Alfredo Herrera, October 27, 2012