Doping and sports - 1964


France voted its first anti-doping law in November 1964.

The anabolic steroids with norethandrolone and with oxandrolon appeared on the market


Despite the increase of the fines in the Italian league and despite points being deducted, five players from 'AC Bologna' tested positive in a doping test.


Doctor Pierre Dumas (1920-2000) persuaded the 'International Sports Medicine Federation' to urge the UCI to perform doping tests during the 100km time trial of the Tokyo Olympics. The teams were searched at the start, but that resulted only the detection of innocent substances. Urine samples were taken from the Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Argentine, Russian and French cyclists, but nothing was found. In thirteen riders injection marks were found and after the race the urine of some riders was even colored blue. Later turned out that during those Games, the strength athletes had massively used doping.

Six-time German champion Valentin Petry (1928-2016), who was active from 1950 to 1962, explained the daily practices in cycling during an interview with the German magazine 'Zeitung':

"Before every seasonal preparation I first looked for a good counsellor, one who had led colleagues to victories. Four weeks before the seasonal start, the cure started, the whole day he did not go away from me. At first a food plan was drawn up.Only beef, veal and poultry, preferably grilled. To purify the blood, I had to drink tea from buckthorn bark. I got injections during the preparation, every counsellor had his own system and secret recipes. And then you felt so good that you could pull out trees. I received the right doping, when the reserves were exhausted. First caffeine in small balls that I had to swallow very often. Followed by strychnine and pervitine and finally the hard things. Once I got drops that made me feel like I was floating on clouds. The prescrition drugs mostly came from Belgium, because the pharmacists were not as petty as here. Cycling was a national sport in Belgium, a cyclist was a national hero who got almost everything he wanted. But a lot of combinations of caffeine and strychnine came from France as well. Then the vasodilators appeared by which the blood flow improved and also products that made you no longer feel pain or deprivation."


During the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, the first anti-doping controls were performed during some cycling events, but they were not binding. Italian Giovanni Pettenella (1943-2010) finished second in the kilometer at the title race on the track. He was called by the International Cycling Union for a doping check, but refused to deliver a pee. The Italian Olympic Committee supported him there and so he was allowed to keep his silver medal. Afterwards he also won the gold medal in sprint.