SACRAMENTO — As he has before, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledged using steroids during his years as a champion bodybuilder, but he also told ABC he would still have used them even knowing what he knows now about the adverse effects of the performance-enhancing drugs.
In an interview to be broadcast today, Schwarzenegger told the network's George Stephanopoulos, "I have no regrets about it, because at that time, it was something new that came on the market, and we went to the doctor and did it under the doctor's supervision. We were experimenting with it. It was a new thing. So you can't roll the clock back and say, 'Now I would change my mind on this.' "
The former seven-time Mr. Olympia said he would not encourage drug use because it sent the wrong message to children. But he said he had no problem with athletes 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 of the nutritious stuff that is available, but stay away from drugs," he said.
Since becoming governor, Schwarzenegger has maintained his ties to the bodybuilding world.
In the interview, Schwarzenegger said he hoped that, over time, bodybuilders would stop relying on steroids.
A spokeswoman for the governor's office said Saturday that Schwarzenegger said nothing he hasn't "discussed before."
Schwarzenegger has admitted to using steroids when he was a champion bodybuilder in decades past, beginning with his arrival in the U.S. at age 20, but also has said they were not illegal at the time and that he used them under a doctor's supervision.
"The governor feels that the use of illegal steroids is wrong," said Margita Thompson, his press secretary.
Next weekend, Schwarzenegger is to make his annual appearance at the Arnold Classic bodybuilding exhibition in Columbus, Ohio.
Sponsors include makers of performance-enhancing dietary supplements -- legal substances that have been a target of legislation in California.
Schwarzenegger's appearance comes at a time when he is facing questions about his position on dietary supplements.
He is editor of two fitness magazines crammed with ads for the supplements, whose health effects, critics say, are not always understood.
The governor last year vetoed a bill by Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) that would have required coaches to take a course on performance-enhancing supplements, created a list of banned substances for interscholastic sports, and barred supplement manufacturers from sponsoring school events.
In his veto message, the governor said that most dietary supplements are safe, and that Speier's bill was "unclear" and would have been difficult to implement.
Schwarzenegger said in the interview that he would sign such a bill if legislators deal with his objections in a new version.