Peyton Manning and other high-profile athletes are preparing for controversy after the premier of an upcoming documentary series that deals with performance-enhancing drugs. Entitled “The Dark Side,” the documentary is produced by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit. In an attempt to learn more about the world of these illegal substances, Al Jazeera enlisted the help of British hurdler Liam Collins for some undercover work.
While investigating, Collins traveled around the country and abroad to learn more about drugs in sports. Through his encounters he learns about the alleged substance use of several high-profile athletes, including Peyton Manning and Ryan Howard.
Here’s the scoop on Collins:
1. Collins Is Bankrupt & At One Point Owed Creditors Over Six Million Dollars
This occured back in 2013, after Collins was unsuccessful as an athlete and was struggling as an entertainer. In his other business venture, Collins swindled victims out of millions. The plan was to convince property owners a fantastic rate for flipping houses and renting them to students. Collins is banned from running a business until 2027, and reportedly owed creditors millions from similar failed business plans.
Two victims were so sure they were being scammed, they set up a website to connect additional victims. They heard from over 40 people, many of whom invested at least £50,000, or over $70,000. These businesses were with Collins’ cousin David Bone, and not with his Faces of Disco partner.
2. Collins Appeared on Britain’s Got Talent as Part of ‘Faces of Disco’
Collins briefly gained fame in 2009 while appearing on “Britain’s Got Talent.” Collins, along with friend Richard Edmonds, comprised the dancing duo known as Faces of Disco. The pair danced to corny disco hits, but while wearing various masks of celebrities and politicians.
The pair advanced all the way to the finals, and the fame gave the duo more opportunities to perform worldwide. The pair also appeared on Italy’s Got Talent in 2013. FOD was performing as recently as 2014, but it appears the group has been inactive. Edmonds’ twitter bio mentions FOD, but currently touts him as co-owner of an athletic underwear company.
3. He Left Hurdling in 2011 Due to Injuries
Collins first sport was track, where his specialty was the 110 and 400 meter hurdles. In 2004, Collins barely missed out on the Summer Olympics, finishing in fourth in qualifying for the 400 meter hurdles. In a 2013 interview, Collins said he quit hurdling after an Achilles injury. He then took up bobsled racing, and attempted to qualify for the 2014 Olympics.
Collins talked about the difference between performing on TV and bobsledding:
Performing live on TV on a program like Britain or Italy’s Got Talent is hugely different to being in a sporting competition. The major difference is one is a real competition where you win or lose based on times and distances and one is based on whether the audience watching likes you..I was lucky to be in the Finals as clearly the producers thought we made good viewing but unlike real competitions they picked our competitors for the semi finals they were not drawn randomly. You are at the mercy of how they portray you.. they can make or break you. I like bobsled because if you run the time, lift the weights or push the bob in the right time you make the team.
4. Collins Told Doctors During the Investigation He Was Preparing For the 2016 Olympics
In the Al Jazeera special report, which debuts Sunday, Collins poses as a hurdler aiming at a comeback. In reality, He is trying to meet as many people, get as many names, and purchase as many performance-enhancing drugs as possible. His biggest contact is Charlie Sly, who worked for an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis while Peyton Manning was playing for the Colts.
Most of the revelations in the special come from Sly, who does eventually provide drugs for Collins. In the special he also travels to the Bahamas, where he speaks with a man who tells him that the nation’s entire Olympic team is doping. He also goes north to Canada, where he speaks with both a pharmacist and a “naturopathic physician.”
Much of the focus is on Delta-2, which has apparently used by several pro athletes. That list does not include Manning, but it does include Steelers linebacker James Harrison, and MLB sluggers Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman.
5. Peyton Manning Has Called the Allegations “Complete Garbage”
Shortly after the teaser to the report was released on the Huffington Post, Manning released a response to the allegations via the Denver Broncos:
Manning missed the entire 2011 season due to neck surgery, after playing over 200 consecutive games to start his career. Despite rumors the surgery might force early retirement, Manning signed to the Broncos and threw 92 TD passes over the next two seasons.