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Doping at the Olympic Games

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Title: Doping at the Olympic Games  
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Subject: Doping in sport, Steroid use in American football, Doping in East Germany, BALCO scandal, List of doping cases in cycling
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Doping at the Olympic Games

The use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) has had a long history at the Olympic Games. Its origins can be traced back to the Ancient Olympics where Olympians would eat lizard meat prepared a special way, in the hopes that it would give them an athletic edge.[1] The first documented use of drugs to improve an athlete's performance was the winner of the 1904 marathon, Thomas Hicks who was injected with strychnine. The use of performance-enhancing medication has also been attributed to one death during Olympic competition.[2] As rumors of rampant drug use by athletes began to spread, so the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to act. By 1967, the IOC had banned the use of performance enhancing drugs in Olympic competition. The IOC introduced the first drug use controls at the 1968 Winter Olympics.

These controls eventually evolved into a systematic-testing regimen that all Olympic athletes must adhere to. Testing of athletes for performance-enhancing drugs includes both urine and blood tests. As of 1999, the authoritative body on the use of performance-enhancing drugs is the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This organization oversees the testing of athletes for several sports federations and the Olympic Games. As the creators of these drugs continue to improve their sophistication, potency and transparency, WADA and its constituency also innovate new ways to detect these drugs. Athletes continue to use various medical modifications to their body as a means of improving their athletic performances.


The use of performance enhancing tactics or more formally known as PEDs, and more broadly, the use of any external device to nefariously influence the outcome of a sporting event has been a part of the Olympics since its inception in Ancient Greece. One speculation as to why men were required to compete naked was to prevent the use of extra accoutrements and to keep women from competing in events specifically designed for men.[3] Athletes were also known to drink "magic" potions and eat exotic meats in the hopes of given them an athletic edge on their competition.[1] If they were caught cheating, their likenesses were often engraved into stone and placed in a pathway that led to the Olympic stadium.[3] In the modern Olympic era, chemically enhancing one's performance has evolved into a sophisticated science, but in the early years of the Modern Olympic movement the use of performance enhancing drugs was almost as crude as its ancient predecessors.

During the early 20th century, many Olympic athletes discovered ways to practically improve their athletic abilities by having testosterone. For example, the winner of the marathon at the 1904 Games, Thomas Hicks, was given strychnine and brandy by his coach, even during the race.[4] As these methods became more extreme, it became increasingly evident that the use of performance enhancing drugs was not only a threat to the integrity of sport but could also have potentially fatal side effects on the athlete. The only Olympic death linked to athletic drug use occurred at the Rome Games of 1960. During the cycling road race, Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen fell from his bicycle and later died. A coroner's inquiry found that he was under the influence of amphetamine, which had caused him to lose consciousness during the race.[2] Jensen's death exposed to the world how endemic drug use was among elite athletes.[5] By the mid–1960s, sports federations were starting to ban the use of performance enhancing drugs, and the IOC followed suit in 1967.[6]

The first Olympic athlete to test positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs was Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, a Swedish pentathlete at the 1968 Summer Olympics, who lost his bronze medal for alcohol use.[7] Liljenwall was the only athlete to test positive for a banned substance at the 1968 Olympics, as the technology and testing techniques improved, the number of athletes discovered to be chemically enhancing their performance increased as well.

Kornelia Ender

The most systematic case of drug use for athletic achievement is that of the East German Olympic teams of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1990, documents were discovered that showed many East German female athletes, especially swimmers, had been administered anabolic steroids and other drugs by their coaches and trainers. Girls as young as eleven were started on the drug regimen without consent from their parents. American female swimmers, including Shirley Babashoff, accused the East Germans of using performance enhancing drugs as early as the 1976 Summer Games.[8] Babashoff's comments were dismissed by the international and domestic media as sour grapes since Babashoff, a clear favorite to win multiple gold medals, won three silver medals - losing all three times to either of the two East Germans Kornelia Ender or Petra Thümer, and one gold medal in a relay. There was no suspicion of cheating on the part of the East German female swimmers even though their medal tally increased from four silvers and one bronze in 1972 to ten golds (out of a possible 12), six silvers, and one bronze in 1976. No clear evidence was discovered until after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the aforementioned documents proved that East Germany had embarked on a state-sponsored drug regimen to dramatically improve their competitiveness at the Olympic Games and other international sporting events. Many of the East German authorities responsible for this program have been subsequently tried and found guilty of various crimes in the German penal system.[9][10]

A very publicized steroid-related disqualification at an Olympic Games was the case of Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who won the Men's 100 metres at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but tested positive for stanozolol. His gold medal was subsequently stripped and awarded to runner-up Carl Lewis, who himself had tested positive for banned substances prior to the Olympics, but had not been banned due to a lack of consistency in the application of the rules. At that time National Olympic Committees had leeway to determine whether a specific athlete met the criteria to be banned from Olympic competition.[11]


In the late 1990s, the IOC took the initiative in a more organized battle against doping, leading to the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 1999. The 2000 Summer Olympics and 2002 Winter Olympics have shown that the effort to eliminate performance enhancing drugs from the Olympics is not over, as several medalists in weightlifting and cross-country skiing were disqualified due to failing a drug test. During the 2006 Winter Olympics, only one athlete failed a drug test and had a medal revoked. The IOC-established drug testing regimen (now known as the "Olympic Standard") has set the worldwide benchmark that other sporting federations attempt to emulate.[12] During the Beijing games, 3,667 athletes were tested by the IOC under the auspices of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Both urine and blood testing was used in a coordinated effort to detect banned substances and recent blood transfusions. While several athletes were barred from competition by their National Olympic Committees prior to the Games, six athletes failed drug tests while in competition in Beijing.[13][14]

Prohibited drugs

Summer Olympic Games

What follows is a list of all the athletes that have tested positive for a banned substance either during or after an Olympic Games in which they competed. Any medals listed were revoked by the International Olympic Commission (IOC). In 1967 the IOC banned the use of performance-enhancing drugs, instituted a Medical Commission, and created a list of banned substances.[15] Mandatory testing began at the following years Summer and Winter games.[15]

1968 Mexico City

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall Sweden Modern pentathlon Ethanol 3rd (team)

1972 Munich

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Bakaava Buidaa Mongolia Judo Caffeine 2nd (63 kg)
Rick DeMont United States Swimming Ephedrine 1st (men's 400 m freestyle)
Jaime Huélamo Spain Cycling Coramine 3rd (individual road race)
Walter Legel Austria Weightlifting Amphetamine
Mohammad Reza Nasehi Iran Weightlifting Ephedrine
Aad van den Hoek Netherlands Cycling Coramine 3rd (100 km team race)

1976 Montreal

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Blagoi Blagoev Bulgaria Weightlifting Anabolic steroid 2nd (82.5 kg)
Mark Cameron United States Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Paul Cerutti Monaco Shooting Amphetamine
Dragomir Ciorosian Romania Weightlifting Fencanfamine
Philippe Grippaldi United States Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Zbigniew Kaczmarek Poland Weightlifting Anabolic steroid 1st (67.5 kg)
Valentin Khristov Bulgaria Weightlifting Anabolic steroid 1st (100 kg)
Lorne Liebel Canada Sailing Phenylpropanolamine
Arne Norrback Sweden Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Peter Pavlasek Czechoslovakia Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Danuta Rosani Poland Athletics Anabolic steroid

1980 Moscow

Though no athletes were caught doping at the 1980 Summer Olympics, it has been claimed that athletes had begun using testosterone and other drugs for which tests had not been yet developed. A 1989 report by a committee of the Australian Senate claimed that "there is hardly a medal winner at the Moscow Games, certainly not a gold medal winner...who is not on one sort of drug or another: usually several kinds. The Moscow Games might well have been called the Chemists' Games".[16]

A member of the IOC Medical Commission, Manfred Donike, privately ran additional tests with a new technique for identifying abnormal levels of testosterone by measuring its ratio to epitestosterone in urine. Twenty percent of the specimens he tested, including those from sixteen gold medalists would have resulted in disciplinary proceedings had the tests been official.[16] The results of Donike's unofficial tests later convinced the IOC to add his new technique to their testing protocols.[17] The first case of "blood doping" occurred at the 1980 Summer Olympics as a runner was transfused with two pints of blood before winning medals in the 5000 m and 10,000 m.[18]

1984 Los Angeles

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Serafim Grammatikopoulos Greece Weightlifting Nandrolone
Vésteinn Hafsteinsson Iceland Athletics Nandrolone
Tomas Johansson Sweden Wrestling Methenolone 2nd (super-heavy)
Stefan Laggner Austria Weightlifting Nandrolone
Göran Petersson Sweden Weightlifting Nandrolone
Eiji Shimomura Japan Volleyball Testosterone
Mikiyasu Tanaka Japan Volleyball Ephedrine
Ahmed Tarbi Algeria Weightlifting Nandrolone
Mahmud Tarha Lebanon Weightlifting Nandrolone
Gianpaolo Urlando Italy Athletics Testosterone
Martti Vainio Finland Athletics Methenolone 2nd (10,000 m)
Anna Verouli Greece Athletics Nandrolone

The organizers of the Los Angeles games had refused to provide the IOC doping authorities with a safe prior to the start of the games. Due to a lack of security, medical records were subsequently stolen.[16] A 1994 letter from IOC Medical Commission chair Juan Antonio Samaranch and Primo Nebiolo, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had conspired to delay the announcement of positive tests so that the games could pass without controversy.[16]

The American cyclist Pat McDonough later admitted to "blood doping" at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.[19] Following the games it was revealed that one-third of the U.S. cycling team had received blood transfusions before the games, where they won nine medals, their first medal success since the 1912 Summer Olympics.[19] "Blood doping" was banned by the IOC in 1985, though no test existed for it at the time.[19]

1988 Seoul

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Alidad Afghanistan Wrestling Furosemide
Kerrith Brown Great Britain Judo Furosemide
Kalman Csengeri Hungary Weightlifting Stanozolol
Mitko Grablev Bulgaria Weightlifting Furosemide 1st (56 kg)
Angell Guenchev Bulgaria Weightlifting Furosemide 1st (67.5 kg)
Ben Johnson Canada Athletics Stanozolol 1st (men's 100 m)
Fernando Mariaca Spain Weightlifting Pemoline
Jorge Quesada Spain Modern pentathlon Propanolol
Andor Szanyi Hungary Weightlifting Stanozolol 2nd (100 kg)
Alexander Watson Australia Modern Pentathlon Caffeine

1992 Barcelona

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Madina Biktagirova Unified Team Athletics Norephedrine
Wu Dan China Volleyball Strychnine
Bonnie Dasse United States Athletics Clenbuterol
Jud Logan United States Athletics Clenbuterol
Nijolė Medvedeva Lithuania Athletics Meziocarde

1996 Atlanta

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Iva Prandzheva Bulgaria Athletics Metadienone
Natalya Shekhodanova Russia Athletics Stanozolol

2000 Sydney

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Fritz Aanes Norway Wrestling Norandrosterone and noretiochdandone
Ashot Danielyan Armenia Weightlifting Stanozolol 3rd (+105 kg)
Izabela Dragneva Bulgaria Weightlifting Furosemide 1st (48 kg)
Stian Grimseth Norway Weightlifting Nandrolone
Ivan Ivanov Bulgaria Weightlifting Furosemide 2nd (56 kg)
Marion Jones United States Athletics THG 1st (women's 100 m), 1st (women's 200 m),
1st (women's 4x400 m relay), 3rd (women's long jump),
3rd (women's 4x100 m relay)
Alexander Leipold Germany Wrestling Nandrolone 1st (76 kg)
Sevdalin Minchev Bulgaria Weightlifting Furosemide 3rd (62 kg)
Antonio Pettigrew United States Athletics EPO and HGH 1st (men's 4x400 m relay)
Oyuunbilegiin Pürevbaatar Mongolia Wrestling Furosemide
Andreea Răducan Romania Gymnastics Pseudophedrine[20] 1st (women's individual all-round)
Andris Reinholds Latvia Rowing Nandrolone
Jerome Young United States Athletics Nandrolone 1st (men's 4x400 m relay)

2004 Athens

Konstantinos Kenteris missed the test together with

Ekaterini Thanou, both from Greece.
Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Wafa Ammouri Morocco Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Adrián Annus Hungary Athletics Falsified test result 1st (men's hammer throw)
Ludger Beerbaum Germany Equestrian Betamethasone (to horse Goldfever) 1st (team jumping)
Yuriy Bilonog Ukraine Athletics Oxandrolone 1st (men's shot put)
Andrew Brack Greece Baseball Stanozolol
Viktor Chislean Moldova Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Crystal Cox United States Athletics Anabolic steroid 1st (women's 4x400 m relay)
Róbert Fazekas Hungary Athletics Missed the test 1st (men's discus throw)
Mabel Fonseca Puerto Rico Wrestling Stanozolol
Anton Galkin Russia Athletics Stanozolol
Ferenc Gyurkovics Hungary Weightlifting Oxanfrolone 2nd (105 kg)
Tyler Hamilton United States Cycling Blood doping 1st (men's road time trial)
Zoltan Kecskes Hungary Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Albina Khomic Russia Weightlifting Testosterone
Aye Khine Nan Myanmar Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Irina Korzhanenko Russia Athletics Stanozolol 1st (women's shot put)
Zoltán Kovács Hungary Weightlifting Missed the test
Svetlana Krivelyova Russia Athletics Oxandrolone 3rd (women's shot put)
Pratima Kumari Na India Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Aleksey Lesnichiy Belarus Athletics Clenbuterol
David Munyasia Kenya Boxing Cathine
Derek Nicholson Greece Baseball Diuretic
Cian O'Connor Ireland Equestrian Antipsychotics (to horse Waterford Crystal) 1st (individual jumping)
Olena Olefirenko Ukraine Rowing Ethamivan 3rd (women's quadruple sculls)
Oleg Perepetchenov Russia Weightlifting Clenbuterol 3rd (62 kg)
Leonidas Sampanis Greece Weightlifting Testosterone 3rd (62 kg)
Thinbaijam Sanamcha Chanu India Weightlifting Furosemide
Mital Sharipov Kyrgyzstan Weightlifting Furosemide
Olga Shchukina Uzbekistan Athletics Clenbuterol
Sahbaz Sule Turkey Weightlifting Anabolic steroid
Ekaterini Thanou Greece Athletics Missed the test
Ivan Tsikhan Belarus Athletics Methandienone 2nd (men's hammer throw)
Irina Yatchenko Belarus Athletics Methandienone 3rd (women's discus throw)

2008 Beijing

"Zero Tolerance for Doping" was adopted as an official slogan for the Beijing Olympic Games.[21] A number of athletes were already eliminated by testing prior to coming to Beijing.[21]

Out of the 4,500 samples that were collected from participating athletes at the games, six athletes with positive specimens were ousted from the competition. It is possible that further positive tests may still be found as samples are sealed and frozen for eight years. It is unclear who remains in charge of these samples, the host or the IOC. The quality of testing was questioned when the BBC reported that samples positive for EPO were labeled as negative by Chinese laboratories in July.[22] The rate of positive findings is lower than at Athens four years ago, but it cannot be deduced that the prevalence of doping has decreased; possibly, doping technology has become more sophisticated and a number of drugs cannot be detected.[21][22][23]

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Christian Ahlmann Germany Equestrian Capsaicin
Bernardo Alves Brazil Equestrian Capsaicin
Lyudmila Blonska Ukraine Athletics Methyltestosterone[24] 2nd (heptathlon)
Fani Halkia Greece Athletics Methyltrienolone[25]
Tony André Hansen Norway Equestrian Capsaicin 3rd (team jumping)
Kim Jong-su North Korea Shooting Propranolol 3rd (men's 10 m air pistol), 2nd (50 m pistol)
Courtney King United States Equestrian Felbinac
Denis Lynch Ireland Equestrian Capsaicin
Maria Isabel Moreno Spain Cycling Erythropoietin[26]
Vanja Perisic Croatia Athletics CERA[27]
Rodrigo Pessoa Brazil Equestrian Nonivamide
Rashid Ramzi Bahrain Athletics CERA[27] 1st (men's 1500 m)
Igor Razoronov Ukraine Weightlifting Nandrolone[28]
Davide Rebellin Italy Cycling CERA[27] 2nd (men's road race)
Stefan Schumacher Germany Cycling CERA[27]
Adam Seroczyński Poland Canoeing Clenbuterol
Do Thi Ngan Thuong Vietnam Gymnastics Furosemide
Athanasia Tsoumeleka Greece Athletics CERA[27]

2012 London

It was announced prior to the Summer games that half of all competitors would be tested for drugs, with 150 scientists set to take 6,000 samples between the start of the games and the end of the Paralympic games.[29] Every competitor who wins a medal will also be tested. The Olympic anti-doping laboratory will test up to 400 samples every day for more than 240 prohibited substances.[29]

The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), John Fahey, announced on 24 July that 107 athletes had been sanctioned for doping offences in the six months to June 19.[30] The "In-competition" period began on July 16. During the "In-competition" period Olympic competitors can be tested at any time without notice or in advance.[31]

British sprinter Dwain Chambers, cyclist David Millar and shot putter Carl Myerscough[32] competed in London after the British Olympic Association's policy of punishing drug cheats with lifetime bans was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.[29]

Gold medallists at the games who had been involved in previous doping offences included Alexandre Vinokourov, the winner of the men's road race,[33] Tatyana Lysenko, the winner of the women's hammer throw, Aslı Çakır Alptekin winner of the women's 1500 meters and Sandra Perković, winner of the women's discus throw.[34][35] Other competitors at the Summer games involved in previous doping cases included American athletes Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt,[36] and Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, although Blake's offence was for a substance not on the WADA banned list.[37]

Spanish athlete Ángel Mullera was first selected for the 3000 m steeplechase and later removed when emails were published in which he discussed EPO use with a trainer.[38] Mullera appealed to CAS which ordered the Spanish Olympic Committee to allow him to participate.[39]

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals Details of test
Ghfran Almouhamad Syria Athletics Methylhexaneamine[40] IOC pre-competition testing at 2012 Summer Olympics.
Victoria Baranova Russia Cycling Male hormone testosterone[41] IOC pre-Games testing in Belarus
Kissya Cataldo Brazil Rowing EPO[36][42] International Rowing Federation pre-Games testing in Brazil
Nicholas Delpopolo United States Judo Cannabis[43] IOC post-event testing at 2012 Summer Olympics.
Luiza Galiulina Uzbekistan Gymnastics Furosemide[44] IOC pre-Games testing in Uzbekistan.
Hassan Hirt France Athletics EPO[45] IOC pre-Games testing.
Amine Laâlou Morocco Athletics Furosemide[46] IAAF post-competition testing at Diamond League meeting in Monte Carlo.
Marina Marghiev Moldova Athletics Furosemide[47] IOC pre-Games testing.
Nadzeya Ostapchuk Belarus Athletics Methenolone[48] 1st (women's shot put) IOC post-event testing at 2012 Summer Olympics (two separate positive samples).
Diego Palomeque Colombia Athletics [49] IOC pre-competition testing at 2012 Summer Olympics.
Darya Pishchalnikova Russia Athletics Oxandrolone[50] 2nd (women's discus throw) Random out of competition test in May 2012. All her results (Including those at the 2012 Summer Olympics) since May 2012 were annulled by the IAAF in April 2013.
Hysen Pulaku Albania Weightlifting Stanozolol[33] IOC pre-competition testing at 2012 Summer Olympics.
Alex Schwazer Italy Athletics EPO[51] IOC pre-Games testing in Italy.
Soslan Tigiev Uzbekistan Wrestling Methylhexaneamine[52] 3rd (freestyle 74 kg) IOC post-event testing at 2012 Summer Olympics.
Tameka Williams Saint Kitts and Nevis Athletics "Blast Off Red"[53] Did not fail test but confessed to have used an illegal "veterinary medicine".

Winter Olympic Games

1968 Grenoble

No athletes were caught doping at these Games.

1972 Sapporo

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Alois Schloder West Germany Ice hockey Ephedrine

1976 Innsbruck

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Galina Kulakova Soviet Union Cross-country skiing Ephedrine 3rd (5 km)
Frantisek Pospisil Czechoslovakia Ice hockey Codeine

1980 Lake Placid

No athletes were caught using performance enhancing drugs at these Games.

1984 Sarajevo

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Batsukh Purevjal Mongolia Cross-country skiing Anabolic steroid

1988 Calgary

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Jaroslaw Morawiecki Poland Ice hockey Testosterone

1992 Albertville

No athletes were caught using performance enhancing drugs at these Games

1994 Lillehammer

No athletes were caught using performance enhancing drugs at these Games

1998 Nagano

No athletes were caught using performance enhancing drugs at these games. The Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati, winner of the men's giant slalom, was initially disqualified and stripped of his gold medal by the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board after testing positive for marijuana.[54] Marijuana was not then on the list of prohibited substances by the IOC, and their decision was reversed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Rebagliati's medal reinstated.[54][55][56]

2002 Salt Lake City

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Alain Baxter Great Britain Alpine skiing Methamphetamine 3rd (slalom)
Olga Danilova Russia Cross-country skiing Darbepoetin 1st (10 km pursuit), 2nd (10 km)
Larisa Lazutina Russia Cross-country skiing Darbepoetin 1st (30 km), 1st (10 km), 2nd (15 km freestyle)
Marc Mayer Austria Cross-country skiing Possession of blood-transfusion equipment
Johann Mühlegg Spain Cross-country skiing Darbepoetin 1st (50 km), 1st (30 km freestyle), 1st (20 km pursuit)
Vasily Pankov Belarus Ice hockey Nandrolone
Achim Walcher Austria Cross-country skiing Possession of blood-transfusion equipment

2006 Turin

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Olga Pyleva Russia Biathlon Carphedon 2nd (15 km)

2010 Vancouver

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Kornelia Marek Poland Cross-country skiing Erythropoietin[57]

2014 Sochi

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle Germany Biathlon Methylhexanamine[58][59]
William Frullani Italy Bobsleigh Methylhexanamine[60][61]
Marina Lisogor Ukraine Cross-country skiing Trimetazidine[62][63]
Vitalijs Pavlovs Latvia Ice hockey Methylhexanamine[64]
Johannes Dürr Austria Cross-country skiing Erythropoietin[65]
Nicklas Bäckström Sweden Ice hockey Pseudoephedrine[66] 2nd Awarded despite the doping violation.[67]
Daniel Zalewski Poland Bobsleigh Stimulant[68]
Ralfs Freibergs Latvia Ice hockey Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone[69]

See also


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External links

  • Olympic Movement Anti-doping Code
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