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Alena Hatvani-Kosinova was one of the most successful Czech female bodybuilders and was a professional competitor in the IFBB organization. Her best result came in the 2017 Ben Weider Legacy Cup in New Zealand, where she won gold in the women’s physique category. Alena was known by friends and fellow competitors as a tenacious athlete that embraced all of the extreme aspects of bodybuilding including, dieting, training, and drug use. Unfortunately, she tragically passed away on August 15th, 2021.


Hours before the 2021 Europa Pro, Alena was talking to a fan while waiting for her spray tan to dry when she realized she couldn’t move. Alena started experiencing cramping that she had felt in a different contest in Portugal a few weeks back. As she hunched over in pain, Alena whispered to a fellow Czech athlete, Ivana Dvorakova, “I won’t be able to do it. I feel really ill”. Ivana helped Alena lay down & hydrate in hopes of helping her feel better. As Alena answered questions about the diuretics and other drugs she had taken she began convulsing and lost consciousness.


After about an hour, an ambulance finally arrived at the venue in Alicante, Spain. The dream of winning the prestigious Olympia title ended as Alena passed away at 46 years of age that morning. Shelby Starnes, her coach, was not present at the time of the incident, and the same coach received another alarming report from a different client, Jodie Engle.


Jodie Engle is a 30-year-old competitor who might need open-heart surgery. Doctors blamed the diuretics she was taking ahead of the NPC National Championship in Florida. Engle won first place and earned a pro card, but is overloaded with medical bills and a possibility she will need a kidney transplant due to the drugs she abused. Starnes has refused to comment on these issues.


Bodybuilders all around the world are putting their lives on the line, willing to die for the sport they love. The Washington Post has started investigating dozens of bodybuilding related deaths. Many unlicensed coaches have shown to supply performance-enhancing drugs and encourage competitors to not seek medical care. Bodybuilding is the only professional sport that does not test for steroid use. Moreover, most steroids are illegal without a doctor’s prescription, and many bodybuilders report they are easily sourced without a prescription.


In 2021, a bodybuilding icon, George Peterson, was found dead in an Orlando hotel room during the Mr. Olympia weekend. Dozens of illegal substances, including clenbuterol, a horse tranquilizing drug, were found in his hotel room. When speaking to Georgina Dunnington, top bodybuilding judge in the industry for 30 years, she expressed that large federations and businesses profit massively off vulnerable competitors. 


Those lucky enough to survive the sport have shown to experience irreparable damage such as: kidney failure, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, enlarged hearts, hormonal imbalances, hair loss, infertility, eating disorders, muscle dysmorphia and depression, along with various orthopedic injuries.


Head over to The Washington Post for a more in-depth look at dozens of competitors who have been victims of the highly dangerous sport that is bodybuilding.