Doping and sports - 1966


After the UCI, the world football association FIFA and the International Olympic Committee committed to the doping battle. The first controls were carried out at the 1966 European Championships and two years later, both during the summer and winter Olympics doping tests were performed.


The first experiments with anabolic steroids started in the GDR. The male shot puters and discus throwers were the first guinea pigs for turinabol, something that discus thrower Günter Schaumburg (1943-) later confirmed. He finished tenth at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. Shortly afterwards, the women were also involved in the experiment, rumors had it that about 42 athletes were doped.


In 1966, the UCI International Cycling Organization finally adopted the anti-doping rules in its regulations. That year Michele Dancelli (1942-), Lucien Aimar (1941-) and Rudi Altig (1937-2016), the first three of the 'Fleche Wallone', did not show up for the doping control.

In the Tour de France was tested for the first time on doping, five riders were caught.

After the arrival of the eighth stage of the Tour de France in Bordeaux, the first unannounced doping control was held. Raymond Poulidor (1936-) was the first to deliver a pee.

"I walked through the hallway in ordinary clothes when two guys asked me if I was a cyclist, they took me to a room where I had to urinate in a few bottles, which they closed without sealing, and then they recorded my name and date of birth, without asking for any identification proof, I could have been anyone and they could have done something with the bottles."

The riders were furious and spoke of a threat to their dignity and their civil liberties. The next day they dismounted in protest of their bikes after five kilometers and walked five kilometers while protesting loudly. No more tests were taken that year.

In those early years, few riders boasted openly about their drug use as Jacques Anquetil (1934-1987) did, but later many admitted the use of amphetamines and analgesics. Like Lucien Aimar (1941-) (photo), a teammate of Anquetil, who won the Tour de France in 1966. Later it turned out that 30% of the tested riders had used amphetamines in that Tour.


US medical doctor William M. Fowler (1926-2017) of UCLA Medical School reported that hormonal medication increases weight, but added:

"It may be wrong to equate weight gain with force gain, since there is a lot of evidence that many of the weight gains is caused by water retention."

Fowler concluded that the relationship between anabolic steroids and strength increase was not proven in athletes and would remain unprovable because it did not exist. Fowler also published a list of the main hazards associated with anabolic use: testicular atrophy, alteration of libido, liver damage and edema. In preparation of his report, Fowler questioned 38 'well known' weightlifters and athletes. He discovered that 50% used one or more anabolic steroids. 47% of users received the drug through their doctor and 47% used doses that were two to four times higher than the therapeutic ones. Nineteen users were convinced that their performance had improved. Only five denied side effects and most of them had been taking anabolics for at least a year. In view of the disputable effect, the potential dangers and the abuse, Fowler concluded:

"The use of androgens in athletes is unethical and illegal, and those who use or administer them should be excluded from further competition or professional activity."