Anecdotes of sports medicine - Manfred Doneke

When I started in the 1980s with the organization of a congres of Sports Medicine, I had the intention that the name of the famous doping specialist Manfred Donike (1933-1995) should not be missing on one of the programs. I visited him in his office at the Sporthoheschule Köln to invite him personally and he was immediately prepared to give a lecture.

He was foreseen as last speaker on Saturday morning, but to my great surprise he did not show up. The speaker before him was told that he had twenty minutes more for his lecture. A few hours later a German arrived, who turned out to be Donike's assistant. His boss could not come at the last minute and sent his assistant to Limburg, but gave him a completely wrong address. The congress was held in Hengelhoef-Houthalen and the man had driven to the Cultural Center of Hasselt, where they of course did not know the first thing about it
. Unfortunately, I could not let him speak anymore.

Donike obtained his doctorate in 1965 as a chemist at the Universität Köln. In 1972 he developed an analytical method for the detection of doping, which was used for the first time that same year at the Munich Olympics. In 1977 he was appointed director of the Institute of Biochemistry at the Sporthoheschule Köln, where at the beginning of the 1980s he discovered that synthetic testosterone in the human body slowly converts to epitestosterone. This laid the basis for the T/E ratios that were used from 1982 onwards to detect testosterone use during doping tests. With this method, among others, the Dutch discus thrower Erik de Bruin (1963-), the Dutch cyclist Gert-Jan Theunisse (1963-), the German sprinter Katrin Krabbe (1969-) and the Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson (1961-) were caught. At the Panamerican Games of 1983 in Caracas, nineteen athletes got caught.

Few people know that from 1954 to 1962 Manfred Donike was a professional cyclist, both on the track and on the road. He won, for example, the Münster six-day, twice the national championship madison race, the eighth stage in the Tour of the Netherlands and the Tour of Cologne. In 1960 and 1961 he also appeared at the start of the Tour de France, which he did not finish in both cases. After his career, he admitted that he had regularly used prohibited drugs as a cyclist.

Manfred Donike died on August 21, 1995 aboard a plane to Johannesburg from the consequences of the heart attack.