Doping and sports - 1925-1929


In 1926, Professor Fred C. Koch (1876-1948) of the University of Chicago and his student Lemeul C. McGee (1904-1975) discovered testosterone, which they extracted by steaming twenty kilos of bull testicles with alcohol, acetone and benzene. It yield them twenty milligrams of a substance that they thought was the male sex hormone. To prove this, they injected the substance into a castrated cock, and after two weeks the capon assumed the appearance and behavior of a rooster. A repeat of the experiment gave the same results. In 1929, Koch and doctor Thomas F. Gallagher refined the original technique, which allowed them to produce a much larger amount of the mysterious hormone from five hundred kilos of testicles. Together with Dr. A. T. Kenyon, the two scientists then conducted experiments on a eunuch to prove that the hormone also worked in humans. The results left no doubt about it, the male sex hormone did exist.


The American chemist Gordon Alles (1901-1963) invented the name amphetamine, which he derived from the obsolete name alpha-methylphenetylamine.


"The big sport starts where she has long stopped to be healthy,"

a quote from the German poet, writer and director Bertold Brecht (1898-1956).


In 1928 during the Olympic marathon of Amsterdam, some national teams officially used the analeptics Cardiozol and Coramin because of their invigorating effect, which postponed exhaustion.


Many sports organizations forbade the use of performance enhancing drugs and had very strict sanctions for the caught. The International Amateur Athletic Federation was the first governing body that took the situation seriously and it banned doping in his statutes. In 1928 it suspended doped participants, but because there were few tests available they had to rely on the word of the athlete who alledgedly had never taken anything.


In 1928, the Swiss sports doctor / surgeon Wilhelm Knoll (1879-1958) administered the stimulant Coramin to skiers at the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz. On his invitation and that of the Swiss NOC, on February 14, 1928, 33 physicians from eleven countries gathered for an international conference in the parish hall of St. Moritz. The Deutsche Ärztebund zur Förderung der Leibesübungen was even represented by twelve sports doctors. After Knoll had explained the purpose of the meeting, the Fédération Internationale de Médecine de Sport (FIMS) was created unanimously.

The Winter Games of Sankt Moritz were also followed scientifically. Many participants were examined by a sports doctor before and after their performance. The Executive Committee approved the necessary credit for carrying out the investigations and this credit was increased by donations from a scientific foundation and sponsorship from the industry (Wander AG and Ciba). Siemens installed X-ray equipment for free and the Swiss Red Cross built a barrack in the immediate surroundings of the competitions. Under the direction of Knoll and Adolf Loewy (1862-1937), Davos Director of the Forschungsinstituts für Hochgebirgsphysiologie und Tuberkulose, skiers, ski-jumpers and ice-hockey players were anthropometrically examined, an X-ray was taken of their hearts and their blood circulation and metabolism was checked . The results refuted, among other things, the claim that by practicing the ski sport for years, there is always an enlargement of the heart. On the contrary, the majority of cardiac diameters were smaller after the competition, indicating that the healthy heart contracts during heavy physical stress and enlarges less.


The Australian cyclist Reggie McNamara (1888-1971), who won nineteen six-day races worldwide during his 20-year career, always carried a briefcase, which he kept tightly closed in public and opened only behind the closed curtains of his tent. During one of his six days, he asked René Latour (1906-1986), sports journalist for the French newspaper 'Miroir du Sport', to guard the key to his suitcase. The journalist could not control his curiosity and opened it. It did not surprise him at all that it was full of cocaine tablets.