Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger against steroid use.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger against steroid use.

Letters dating back to the early 1990's indicate that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted efforts to combat steroid use in professional bodybuilding. The letters were released to the Associated Press on Monday in advance of this weekend's Arnold Classic, an annual bodybuilding contest and sports event in Columbus, Ohio.

In those letters Schwarzenegger praises IFBB president Ben Weider for setting up a drug testing fund, in other letters he asks for donations to the fund and thanks those who have already contributed.

In an interview that aired Sunday with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Schwarzenegger acknowledged that he knowingly used steroids during his years as a champion bodybuilder. Schwarzenegger admitted having no regrets about it, saying "it was something new that came on the market, and we went to the doctor and did it under doctors' supervision".

The former seven-time Mr. Olympia said he now does not encourage drug use because it sends the wrong message to children. But he has no problems with taking nutritional supplements and other legal substances to improve their performance.

"People should take food supplements, people should be able to take the vitamins and all the nutritious stuff that is available, but stay away from drugs," he said.

The Arnold Classic is to beheld March 04-06, 2005 in Columbus, Ohio and has evolved into more than just a male bodybuilding competition, featuring Ms. International, Fitness International, Figure International and up to 8 Olympic Sports, including Tae Kwon Do and Judo.

Reference material: The Associated Press