Doping and sports - 1968


The strength athletes themselves increased their dose of anabolics to two or even five times more than the therapeutic recommendations. But the variety of steroids also increased, both oral and injectable.

In 1968, amphetamine use was even reported in high school basketball players and footballers, where the coach provided the pills in some cases.

The West German Swimming Federation conducted the first urine tests.

The chairman of the German athletic federation Max Danz (1908-2000), who participated in the 800m at the 1932 Olympics of Los Angeles and who worked as an internist in his private practice in Kassel, did not understand that the steroid Dianobol was considered a doping product. According to him, it was a slowly working constructive force medication on an anabolic basis.


"I quickly swallowed some pills and the pain was gone,"

said baseball player Dennis McLain (1944-) of the Detroit Tigers. For the sixth inning of the World Series 1968, McLain had his shoulder injected with cortisone and xylocaine, the only inning he'd ever won after three attempts.

In the same World Series, which sometimes resembled a match between the Detroit and St. Louis pharmacists, Bob Gibson (1935-) of the St Louis Cardinals swallowed muscle relaxants to keep his arm supple.

"Occasionally we use the amphetamines Dexamyl and Dexedrine .... Also the barbiturates, Seconal, Tuinal, Nembutal .... Sometimes anti-depressants such as Triavil, Tofranil, Valium .... But I do not think that drug use in the MidWest is as widespread as on the East and West coast,"

according to Isadore Carl Middleman (1910-1968), the sports doctor of the baseball team St. Louis Cardinals.


German boxer Jupp Elze (1939-1968) (photo) died from the consequences of a serious head injury, after his fight against Argentinian Carlos Duran (1936-1991). The autopsy showed that his pain threshold during the fight was significantly increased by the intake of stimulants.


A year after the death of Tom Simpson (1937-1967), Frenchman Yves Mottin (1945-1968) died due to excessive amphetamine use, only two days after he had won a cyclo-cross in Grenoble to everyone's surprise.

On February 5, 1969, the riders Paul Barnay and Michel Fayolle were convicted by the Court of Justice of Grenoble for the distribution of amphetamines. The two French people confessed that they smuggled the goods from Italy to France.

Because of their diuretic properties, diuretics mask the use of stimulants. The products, and in particular Probenecid, were therefore placed on the list of prohibited substances. But this problem was quickly solved. For a doping test in the Giro of 1969, the runners sprayed diuretics dissolved in distilled water directly into their bladders with a syringe so that the product could not be detected.

On 13 September 1968, manager Mike Breckon (1937-) handed his team members from the Canadian cycling team a memo explaining how and when to take the two drugs they were supplied. Breckon concluded his instructions with the comment:

"You will undoubtedly find that both preparations contain very small amounts of strychnine. Do not get the wrong idea that this substance is toxic ... It is on the list of prohibited substances of the Canadian Cycling Association, but there is no problem because you will not take them during the race and it will be given under doctor's prescription."

Swiss rider Peter Abt (1944-) had to leave the Giro after a positive test for amphetamines.

Italian rider Vittorio Adorni (1937-) was suspended for one month because he had been using amphetamines in the Tour of Sardinia. Later he had to leave the Giro because he tried to forge a check.


During a match in Grenoble on October 24, 1968, French footballer Jean-Louis Quadri (1950-1968) dribbled to the opponent's goal. But even before he could kick he collapsed. In haste he was taken to the hospital, but he died in the ambulance. The autopsy showed that he was heavily drugged with amphetamines.


Even golf, a sport with a 'clean image', did not escape the use of doping. Golf is a continuous fight against tension and in 1968 the abuse of sedatives and tranquillizers was reported because of their 'calming' effect. Top players like Doug Sanders (1933-), Dave Hill (1937-2011) and Al Geiberger (1937-) reportedly swallowed them.